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News Five's Duane Moody took a trip to the Belize River Valley area where the Belize River is already swelling and the banks being taken in by the rising water level.� The entrance to Gracie Rock Village off the George Price Highway is under about a foot of water and continues to rise. This morning, the Belize District NEMO Committee met at its center in Ladyville to plan for the eventuality. Here's a report.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Flood water from the west has been making its way down to the Belize River Valley area. Several access roads in Gracie Rock Village are inundated and along the Belize River Valley area, the water level of the river is rising and fast. The full impact is expected tonight and into Thursday.

Lionel Smith, NEMO Coordinator, Belize Rural North

"The reports I have gotten since 7:30 a.m. this morning is that the river in Willow's Bank Village, Double Head Cabbage, Burrell Boom, especially in Willow's Bank Village, it has surpassed what they call their top gallon marks. So we have seen the river start spilling its banks and that is because we are still anticipating a larger body of water to come down this way. We are also monitoring Crooked Tree cause we know the lagoon normally the water level comes up and then the causeway gets inundated and then you have some folks who live in the low-lying areas adjacent the lagoon and so on. So we are keeping a close eye on Crooked Tree as well."

So today, the NEMO Committee for Belize District met in Ladyville in preparation for this eventuality.

Lionel Smith

"We just held our EOC meeting, our Emergency Operations Committee meeting. We had the deputy chair of Belize Rural North for NEMO, Mister Marconi Leal chaired the meeting and we had different respective committee chairs present as well. Today our meeting was to touch base and cross our T's and dot our I's in regards to the impending flood waters that we are expecting to come from west of the country."

NEMO Coordinator for Belize Rural North, Lionel Smith says that the plan will include collaboration among all relevant authorities as well as persons on the ground in an effort to prevent any loss of life and minimize damage to property.

Lionel Smith

"All the operations for Belize rural office will happen right from this building behind me. We do have our community volunteers in each village and these people are trained as well if we need to call upon them to represent at any given moment."

Smith says residents must not panic at this time, but remain alert.

Lionel Smith

"There is no need for panic at this moment. Like I said, we are still anticipating the water body to come down our way. It might be quite a significant amount of water, but at this moment in time, there is no shelters activated in Belize rural. We do have people on standby if that need so arise."


Channel 5


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NEMO Warns River Valley

Tonight, NEMO says that the Belize River continues to rise as floodwaters move downstream to the coast. Meanwhile most of the rivers in the west are receding. Encouragingly, flood levels on the Sibun River at Freetown Sibun are expected to begin decreasing.

Still, floodwaters are rising fast in the Belize District which is affecting and will affect Isabella Bank, Lemonal, Rancho Dolores, Willows Bank, Double Head Cabbage, Bermudian Landing, Scotland Halfmoon, Flowers Bank, Burrell Boom, Maypen, Crooked Tree, Gracie Rock, Freetown Sibun, 8 miles and, quite possibly, Belize City.

Ninety-six people from 25 families are now in four shelters in the Cayo District.

Channel 7

====================

Flood Waters Expected to Impact Belize River Valley

The latest advisory from NEMO this afternoon cautions people along the Belize River that water levels are expected to rise as the floods continue to push towards the coast. But there's also good news in other parts of the country. The Mopan River that runs through Benque Viejo Town is now subsiding and is expected to continue to go down. The same expectation is forecasted for the Macal River, at all the BECOL facilities and in San Ignacio. The flood levels on the Monkey River, the Sibun River are also expected to continue going down. People who live near the Sittee River at Kendal, as well as those near to the Moho River at Blue Creek South and Jordan, and residents along the Temash River at Crique Sarco are advised that these tributaries are at flood stage. Meanwhile, as the waters advance towards the Caribbean Sea, communities in the Belize River Valley, as well as Crooked Tree, are advised to be alert. The Crooked Tree Lagoon is again expected to spill onto the causeway as the water reaches that area. NEMO's Belize Rural District Coordinator, Lionel Smith informed us today that a few villages in the River Valley have begun to see their river rise.

Lionel Smith, Belize Rural District Coordinator, NEMO
"The Rancho Dolores, Spanish Creek area and the Lemonal area have been seeing a steady in the flood waters so far. Now what we are seeing is some pushback in the Spanish Creek area and that river also feeds into Lemonal and that's the one that empties into the Crooked Tree Lagoon."

Marion Ali
"So you're expecting Crook Tree to flood also?"

Lionel Smith
"We're expecting some flooding in Crooked Tree, maybe not to an alarming rate but we are expecting some water movements there."

Channel 5

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Water Coming Down To Crooked Tree

Last week, we showed you the aftermath of the flooding in the Cayo District - residents cleaning out their homes and businesses after the waters rushed in. Well, as usual, those floodwaters have continued its journey, and the effects can now be seen in the Belize River Valley area. And one village that has always had to contend with flooding is Crooked Tree.

The water from the surrounding lagoon normally rises above the village's causeway, putting it completely underwater. Once this happens, the Coast Guard normally ferries residents in and out of the village.

And today, those Coast Guardsmen were out there preparing to assist the students and other residents returning to the village, because while the causeway isn't completely underwater, there are portions of it that are covered.

And one resident, Steve "Groovemaster" Perriot explained that the villagers have come to expect this recurring issue, but they're hopeful that work will be done on their causeway soon. Here's how he put it:

Steve Anthony Perriot, Resident, Crooked Tree
"This is something where unfortunately this is our job. We know this is what Crooked Tree and the whole river valley area we do, so when we heard about Julia and we saw the rains and everything, we knew we were going to get it. There is no much preparation you could do for an event like this, because you could stock up on food, you could do things like that, but when you go to sleep one night and you could drive across on the next morning you can't, that feels like the first time. You feel locked off. We appreciate the fact that the coast guard they come. They're like honorary Crooked Tree people right now and they've always done a great job here with us and it's not that we're not glad to see them, we wish we didn't have to see them. But I hope that now, because it's not the first time. I hope that the people that are in charge will learn from this and would come with a magic marker and write where the level is, so that when this is done, you could full the road to that level so that we don't have to be doing this every 3-4 years."

"I spoke with somebody in the ministry yesterday and they assured me that they're going to put tar and aggregate up until where it floods, because the tar getting into the water would be bad for the village and for the fish and the fauna and everything and they said they'd cement the other part. So we are looking forward to that, but in the meantime its just another inconvenience, not only for us, but for many people in low laying areas."

Reporter
"Do you feel that no villager or no resident of Belize should have to live like this?"

Steve Anthony Perriot, Resident, Crooked Tree
"No one should. We've had many years - we know every year when the floods come, we know what's going to happen and we seem to keep putting it off. We seem to push it off until next year and until the next administration and we the people need to hold our representatives right from the village council up more accountable for things that we need in the village. Right now, we just lost our chairman, very young chairman and I'm sure he would have been a great chairman, but we're still going through with what we need to do with the rest of the council."

While the Coast Guard normally uses a boat to ferry residents, since the water is still relatively low, they're using a vehicle to transport the villagers.

Channel 7



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