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Marty Offline OP
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Belize City is Ravaged by Hurricane Lisa

Belize City has been racked by Hurricane Lisa.� Homes and businesses have been destroyed by the sheer force of winds that cut swaths through buildings big and small.� Twenty-four hours ago, the Old Capital was battered by heavy rains and violent winds, as the severe weather system made landfall south of this municipality.� Residents hunkered down as the torrential downpour and howling winds were unrelenting.� At three o'clock this morning, the storm was over but not before leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.� We begin our newscast tonight by looking at the immediate consequences of the category one hurricane that ravaged Belize City.� News Five's Isani Cayetano reports.

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The aftermath of Hurricane Lisa is being calculated by residents and business owners who suffered significant losses during the passage of the category one storm on Wednesday.� Damages are expected to be in the millions, as homes and businesses across Belize City were leveled.� The City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO, has been on the ground since yesterday and continues its efforts in the wake of the natural disaster.

Melony Dawson, CEMO Liaison Officer

"We received many reports from residents, calling into the [Emergency Operations Center] EOC with roof damages, some houses collapsed and different situations.� Furthermore, this morning, we went out to do a preliminary assessment and then our [Damage and Needs Assessment] DANA team, they went out as well.� They are there on the grounds working.� So with that, we will be getting official information of what the damages will be so far in the city."

Unofficially, as many as fifty houses collapsed in Belize City during the cyclone.� There is an abundance of zinc sheets strewn across many properties, as rooftops were torn off residential and commercial structures.

Sharon Lewis, Belize City Resident

"The whole roof, the interior inside, the appliances, everything gone.� Nothing saved.� That happened bout three o'clock, yes, when the weather was passing."

Isani Cayetano

"I gather that you stayed at home yesterday through the passage of [the storm]."

Sharon Lewis

"We were staying at home, sitting down, and we were watching the wind and we just hear wah noise and I was sitting at the table.� I get up for five minutes to get a glass of water and then the whole roof came in."

This is Sharon Lewis' property on Orange Street.� Like many who live in the Old Capital, Hurricane Lisa wreaked havoc on the upper covering of her house.� Across town on Wilson Street, Sister Cecilia's Home for the Elderly is also severely damaged.� The shelter for senior citizens was partially destroyed by gale-force winds.

Voice of: Employee, Sister Cecilia's Home for the Elderly

"It was rough for the residents, most of all.� We had to rush them from their dorm into the dining room because the whole roof fell off� It was terrible.� So we started to bring them� noh me, but the staff started to bring them across and then they started to ker who supposed to mi go da di private ward went there.� But di experience mi hard because things started to fly off and a lot of things started to happen, you know, when the storm and I mean, you feel the place starting to vibrate a little."

It will take a lot to repair the extensive damages at the convalescent home.� News Five understands that an estimate will be conducted on Friday to determine the cost of the work that needs to be done.

Isani Cayetano

"How do you guys see this place coming back, in terms of the amount of work that is necessary to rebuild?"

Voice of: Employee

"Well I noh know, I think we mussi wahn haftu ask fi donation fi build back the place, you know.� I cyant tell yoh nuff about that part, but I believe ih wahn build back by the help of God."

The streets of Belize City are littered with debris and various cleanup teams are busy clearing as much of the fragments as they possibly can.� Also evaluating the destruction is the Relief and Supply Subcommittee of the Belize City Council.

Melony Dawson

"[The] Relief and Supply Subcommittee also will be out doing their assessments to help residents with supplies and so forth.� So right now, we are on the ground working and trying to see how much we can help the residents in the city.� I also want to make mention that the Belize City Council in collaboration with [Belize] Waste Control, they will be working with us to clean up the city for four days."

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Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Mass Cleanup Efforts Show Resiliency in the Wake of Hurricane Lisa
A massive cleanup campaign was launched earlier today in Belize City. In the wake of Hurricane Lisa, hundreds of persons including sanitation workers, Belize Defence Force soldiers and personnel from the Department of Environment, as well as the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing, and contractors came out with backhoes and trucks to pick up and cart away debris and fallen trees. The aggressive campaign will continue for three days and the hope is that by Sunday, majority of the fragments would have been removed. News Five's Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

From as early as six o'clock, hundreds of persons began gathering inside the parking lot of the Belize City Civic Center. Approximately three hundred and fifty Belize Defence Force soldiers joined members from the sanitation department from the Belize City Council and the Department of Environment, the National Fire Service and more to embark on a massive cleanup of the city that was hardest hit by Hurricane Lisa. That strong category one storm destroyed hundreds of homes and left trees, debris and sludge on almost all arteries of the city.

Aldo Cansino, Environmental Officer, Department of Environment

"We did an assessment of ninety-three streets around Belize City, four different quadrants, my estimation just on those ninety-three streets which is just a small portion, we have about three hundred and fifteen truckloads of material and that’s just Belize City and most of it is debris, fallen trees. So a lot of these trees are big and yo have to cut it up, so it speaks to the size of the trees and the strength of the wind that was out here. So it is going to be a big effort."

That's only about one third of the city streets and it will take some time to clean up. But seeing the devastation to the municipality, the Belize City Council got into action and brought together all these stakeholders with one mission in mind - to rid the city streets of the wreckage caused by the natural disaster.

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

"A wide cross-section of stakeholders, both public and private sector, and we have been able to mobilize and get eighteen backhoes and twenty dump trucks as well as human resources. We want to deploy all these personnel across the entire city for the next three days so that we can really achieve the positive outcomes we are looking for in respect to cleaning up this city."

The cleanup effort saw support coming from other municipalities which were not directly impacted by Hurricane Lisa. Orange Walk Mayor Ladrick Sheppard and his staff travelled to the city and will lend support for two of the three days of cleanup.

Ladrick Sheppard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town

"I brought twenty-five employees that includes my manager and also one of my supervisors along with two councillors and myself. And we are out here to work. We are out here to do whatever they ask us to do. Wherever the mayor sends us to clean up, we are going to be out there in full force, getting this place back to where it once was."

The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing also chipped in and those companies that were awarded roadwork contracts were pulled in to assist with the heavy duty equipment to scoop up and cart away the rubble.

Evondale Moody, Engineering Coordinator, M.I.D.H.

"We know that there is a number of debris all over the city and so the ministry has embarked on this effort with the contractors that we have working in other parts of the country for them to bring in their equipment and to assist the city council as best as we can. This is all being done based on contributions from these contractors and I think it is very important for us to highlight that we have Cisco Construction, Teichroeb and Sons, Belize Roadway, A&N Construction, Imer Hernandez."

Francisco Woods, Cisco Constructions

"We are just waiting on instructions on where to go. You don’t have to drive around too long to see the mess that we have. But we are grateful cause it could have been a lot worst. But we will have a team of volunteers probably for the next several days."

While there were no fires to extinguish, personnel from the National Fire Service are also supporting to remove the sludge after the debris is taken off the streets.

Colin Gillett, Fire Chief, National Fire Service

"Since yesterday we have been assisting the municipal airstrip, spraying that off - we had a lot of mud - so that the planes can land and people could come back in. We have some crews cleaning the streets; we are also doing some street cleaning on north side which is what we are here today for. So when the B.D.F. removes the large pieces we are going to go behind and spray it off so that the streets are clean as soon as possible."

Belize City, which was most affected by the storm, has the highest concentration of people. The recovery process will take time, but the efforts today show that the community is ready rebuild, however they can. Public Service Minister Henry Charles Usher said it best:

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service

"We are strong, we are resilient. And yes we took a beating. There are certain areas of the city really got some physical damage, but the people are coming together, we are working together and as you can see the massive effort from the B.D.F., from the private sector and other municipalities coming in to assist in the cleanup efforts. It's a multi-prong effort as you can see. We have the cleanup effort going on, we have the food assistance happening today as we speak and we also have the effort in trying to get these persons immediate relief in terms of zinc and plywood and mattress and tarps to cover up where they might have holes and so on."

Channel 5

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,400
Marty Offline OP
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Before The Storm Was Terrible, After the Storm, Total Collapse

It's been a little over a week post-Hurricane Lisa, and a lot of residents are still sleeping without a roof, or with walls and fences that were damaged in the storm.

But what about those whose houses were falling apart even before the hurricane?

That's the case of one man whose living conditions can only be described as dire. 60-year-old Glenford Morgan's home was in ruin, and the hurricane came in like a wrecking ball. But as a sick elderly man with no employment opportunities, he has no finances - or strength - to fix it. Most days, he barely has enough to eat.

And now, following the hurricane, he's pleading for assistance to rebuild his home. Courtney Menzies spoke with him today and has this story.

60-year-old Glenford Morgan weathered Hurricane Lisa in his small, dilapidated home, with nothing but a pack of bread to eat. The small plywood house stands on stilts surrounded by garbage, and the inside looks no better. With the exception of a couple of sofa chairs, there is no furniture, just a mattress that has seen better days.

And though he had already had floorboards missing, the hurricane also took his roof, and destroyed some of his possessions, as well as knocked down the trees in his yard, which he cannot move on his own.

And since he is unable to work, he's hoping for some help to get out of his dire situation.

Glenford Morgan, Needs Assistance
"I passed it under pressure. I was home when the weather came and meet me off balance. No finance or anything, no food, one pack bread, but I weathered it out with that and got my roof, my roof blew off in the kitchen, and part of the whole entire house, the zinc is lifting, need some new zinc. Need somebody to repair it because I can't get up there. My mattress and radio got destroyed, clothes got wet up. The house, the plywood blew off from the east side, to the back, and the zinc lifted up. And one of them supposed to blow off. Because it have, you can see it, from here you can see the top and got wet up. Just need a little help if anybody could. The condition the house is very old and I'm a person that can't work, I'm a sick person. Just need some help."

But his goal is to eventually be able to earn a living for himself, like he used to do when he was a cab driver.

Glenford Morgan, Needs Assistance
"I need to seek my own taxi, my own employment, because it's going to be hard to pay people for their car, so I'm trying to get one for myself."

Morgan is pleading for any kind of help, and since he doesn't have a cell phone, his neighbour is taking the calls for him. She can be reached at 632-0919, and Morgan can be found at 73 Guerrero Street.

Again that number is 632-0919.

Channel 7

One Thousand Truck Loads of Debris Transported to Belize City Transfer Station Over Six Days

The massive cleanup effort across Belize City is on its sixth day. More than a thousand truckloads of debris have been removed from across Belize City. It has been all hands on deck in a herculean effort to get Belize City back to a place of normalcy following the devastation. And today, sugar cane farmers from the north joined forces with all those working on the ground. Fifty farmers from the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association and five sugar cane loaders did their part to give back to Belize City. But, where is all this detritus being dumped and how is it being managed. That is what News Five's Paul Lopez found out today. Here is that report.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Fifty members of the Belize Sugar Cane Farmers Association travelled from Orange Walk today to assist with the cleanup effort taking place in Belize City.

Alfredo Ortega, Chairman, Committee of Management, B.S.C.F.A.

"We saw in the news the effects that were caused by hurricane Lisa and as brothers of Belize, the cane farmers believe that we have a duty to come and assist the people from Belize City."

That sense of duty also inspired them to donate the use of their loaders. The heavy equipment, while designed to work sugar cane fields, are ideal for the clearing of debris.

Alfredo Ortega

"With that machine it is faster to lift up debris. And we have four of them thank god, that those farmers agreed to come. So, we said ok today is the day for us to come and assist the people from the city. And, we are here."

Minister Jose Mai collaborated with the cane farmers to finance the transportation of the heavy equipment and the labor force.

Jose Mai, Minister of Agriculture

"This is a clear sign that the farmers in the north are in solidarity with the people of Belize, those affected by the hurricane. So, that is where we begin. I think that no cane farmer of my generation has seen the destruction that we saw in Belize City . I think that moved them, and so they left their jobs, they left their cane fields to be here today to show support for the residence of Belize City."

And, their support brings much needed man power to the cleanup efforts that have been ongoing since Friday. Over the last six days, at least one thousand truck loads of debris has been transported to the Belize City Transfer Station's compound at mile three on the George Price Highway. We spoke with Lumen Cayetano, the Director of the Belize Solid Waste Management Authority via Zoom about their efforts to manage this waste.

Lumen Cayetano, Director, Belize Solid Waste Management Authority

"Considering that the hardest hit area after Hurricane Lisa is Belize City, we designated a dumping area on the compound that is being managed using bull dozers, back hoes, and other equipment that remains onsite, is provided by the city council essentially. So, when the trucks coming in from Belize City that are a part of the clean up and collection of the disaster debris that is taken to that area and the pushing of the bulldozer takes place, the compaction, and the crushing."

The bulldozer remains operational throughout the day, to clear space for the contents of incoming trucks. On the busiest days, up to two hundred trips are made to the transfer station. Initially, this operation was scheduled to be completed in three days, until authorities truly realized how much damage Hurricane Lisa had caused.

Emerson Garcia, Solid Waste Technician, B.S.W.M.A.

"To be honest no, we were not expecting this amount of debris coming from the city. I am part of the Environment and Solid Waste Committee and they said that within three days they will be able to clean the city. But, as you can see today is Wednesday and they have plans until Friday."

But, by Friday those plans may be altered, as there may still be more to clear from the streets well into next week. Emerson Garcia remains on the compound to direct the flow of traffic and dumping.

Emerson Garcia

"Usually once the trucks come with the debris, as you can see the trucks come mixed with white goods, and branches and stuff like that. So, once the trucks come we dump it right here to my right hand side. Then the trucks just empty it and we proceed. We get the assistance of the back hoes to empty them and then once the area is getting full we get the bulldozers to clear more space so that we could continue dumping."

Lumen Cayetano

"The urgency of cleaning up the city has not given us the opportunity to separate the waste. Ideally you would want to separate the waste. It is not only trees, limbs, and branches that are coming in but you know for people who lost their roofs we have metals sheeting. We have wooden members from the structures coming in, refrigerators, freezers, stoves, television, and all of those things that may have been damaged by the rains that would have fallen into people's house who have lost their roofs."

When the city's cleanup efforts come to an end, a much larger bulldozer will be used to spread and compact the debris. This will bring the mountain of detritus to half its current size. That will then be covered with land fill.

Emerson Garcia

"We have enough space. We have enough space. Once this area is filled we have to our left. Space should be no problem."

Channel 5

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