Now, there are reports that the water has been receding slowly, but it is not expected that all will be gone before the end of the year. As the councillor responsible for works, we asked Vaughan what can be done to alleviate the situation in Belama and other flooded areas; be that in the short-term, medium term or long-term.  

Albert Vaughan, Councillor for Works, Belize City Council

“What we want to do, I spoke with the mayor; we want to meet with the new minister—not works, they call it now Minister of Infrastructure. We want to meet with Honourable Julius Espat and his technical team because that is what is needed in that area. I don’t even know if the city council can manage the repair, what happened in that area to get out the water. So it has to be a team effort from that ministry with our council. Not only the Belama area, we are talking about the Krooman Lagoon, we are talking about Gungulung…all these places have been gone. And again it is years of neglect, years of neglect.”

Flood Mitigation Project in Belama Ineffective

For the past few days, the weather condition had improved and a cold front was in effect for the country. Today, however, rains resumed across the country, but specifically in Belize City where some areas are still under several feet of water. Two such areas are Belama Phase Three and Four where water levels rose high into homes; some access roads are impassable by small vehicles and over two hundred residents are affected. Now the area is located within two waterways – the sea and the Haulover Creek.  An assessment by the Works Department of the Belize City Council indicates that flood water is being dumped via a manmade channel into the area. Councillor Albert Vaughan questions the effectiveness of a flood mitigation project that was done in the area several years ago for which millions of dollars were spent.

Albert Vaughan, Councillor for Works, Belize City Council

“I personally believe, there was a program behind there, the Flood Mitigation Program – I think it started 2014 – where they went back there and did these huge digging of these large bin on Apollo Street which is totally a mess. What happened is that they put a canal that connects the sea to Belama. If you go back there right now, you can see where that canal is pushing water into Belama. So instead of taking out the water to the sea, Belama is receiving all that flood water—all the way up from Haulover Bridge that water is coming into Belama. That is what I think is causing the flood. But we have to look particularly on that flood mitigation program, twenty million dollars—it is a loan by the way—from the Inter-American Development Bank and I am saying that something went wrong with that project. Instead of taking out water out of Belama, we are now receiving far more water in Belama.  I noh gone dah no engineering school, but I could tell you that we have never experienced that kind of water in that area before. And before that water came, the people back there can tell you, whenever there is a high tide by the sea or by the river, we get flood in that area. So the program is a failure; it is a total failure in that area.”

Channel 5