Did City Flood Due To Blocked Drains?

We also asked the Mayor about the deluge of rain that poured down on Belize City and other Central and Coastal areas in the country. It lasted for only a few hours, and in that time, several parts of the City were briefly inundated by flood waters.

The City Emergency Management Organization sent a press release warning residents about the heavy showers and thunderstorms affecting the City and other central and coastal areas.

That public warning noted that a flood watch is in effect for low-lying areas and the entire country.

The CEMO statement also says quote, "We expect to see a decrease in rainfall later this evening, but we urge residents to be vigilant of their surroundings." End quote.

So, did the City conduct its annual flood preparedness procedures to clear drains in preparation for the rainy season? The Mayor insisted that they did, and here's that conversation:

Bernard Wagner - Mayor, Belize City Council
"Rainfall is global, and if you visit many of the cities, many of the countries in the region, globally, you will find that whenever there are excessive rains, given climate change - the impacts of climate change -there is this tendency for flooding. Belize City is not immune to it. We didn't even have a dry season per se this year, and so the ground is really inundated already. So, what you saw this morning with the flooding is an effect of not having a dry season. We went directly - since January, it has been raining. The rainy season started actually in May, and so our drainage system continues to hold up. I believe that once you see the rain subside, you see the water runoff quickly. So, obviously, there is more work to be done. We'll be working along in the Gungulung Area with that canal. We are supposed to dredge the canal, but we have just not been able to get the long dry season or some break in the weather patterns and the rain patterns. So, as to get to this works."

Daniel Ortiz
"So, if there are citizens who take the view that improper addressing contributed to this, would you dissuade them from that opinion?"

Bernard Wagner
"Of course. Of course. Our drains are cleared. Our drains are shaped prior to the hurricane season. We have a very robust city emergency management team that we consult with on a regular basis. Prior to the season, we would normally shape all those drains, dig them out, and get them connected from the drains into the canals, from the canals to the river, and from the river into the sea. So, that area we're working on."

Tropical Wave Causes Flooding In South

And that flooding is not only in Belize City - which, thanks to a low tide did indeed run off quickly in most, but not all areas. In the village of Silk Grass, the heavy rains caused something akin to a localized flash flood - inundating the community - and putting some areas underwater.

The area representative Rodwell Ferguson and NEMO responded quickly.

There was also flooding on the Coastal Highway where there was isolated flooding, particularly at the Gales Point Junction and the Manatee Bridge.

The National Hydrological Service says that The Manatee River and Soldier Creek Bridge is FLOODED on the Coastal Highway. While a FLASH FLOOD POTENTIAL has been IDENTIFIED - with MEDIUM RISK for WATERSHEDS OFF THE EASTERN SLOPES OF THE MAYA MOUNTAINS.

Channel 7

Heavy Rains Flood City Streets; CitCo Works to Provide Proper Drainage

Torrential rains across the city earlier today left many streets under water. Pedestrians, cyclists and motorists had to make their way through flooded streets after roughly two inches of rainfall this morning. But what has CitCo been doing since the beginning of the rainy season to prepare the Old Capital for inclement weather?

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor
"We have been shaping our drains to ensure that they connect with our rivers and other waterways across the city. Actually, we have some massive street infrastructure. If you give me the time to outline some of them that we will be doing very shortly. The Holy Emmanuel Street, as you know, gabions were planted on one side of that stretch. We'll be completing the other side from when you cross the bridge to the La Croix Boulevard, we'll be putting the gabions in place. We'll be dredging that canal. We do plan on concluding that stretch of Holy Emmanuel Street with concrete, working along with the Ministry of Infrastructure to get that done because that is the route that our electric buses will be running along that route into Mahogany Street, Central American Boulevard, Cemetery Road and into downtown Belize City. So that area has to be put in a ready state. We're working along Mahogany Street to cement another portion because that is the area that this food hub, this tourism food hub will be coming on stream very shortly where we'll be standardizing all the booths along that stretch. We're looking at Santa Barbara Street as well. Wood Street, right next to the gas station on Cemetery Road. We are looking to concrete that street. We're looking at G Street, Graduate Crescent, Maurice Bishop, Zericote Street, Logwood Street, Thomas Vincent Ramos, a portion of [Neal's] Pen Road."

Channel 5