I just got an email from someone who travelled from belmopan to belize city, and to the cayes and back. Here is an excerpt:
"Leaving Belmopan after seeing that the people sheltering in our church were taken care of, I ventured into the unknown and took the only bus brave enough to venture to Belize City this morning- The James Line. The road looked fairly easy apart from mile 25 which was patched up after been washed away Monday night. I started saying that what was the' hype ' about bad roads about until I reached Hattieville. There I was greeted by a wall of rushing water which looked like a storm surge flowing past the Hattieville prison coming from Burrell Boom. It looked impassable but the driver manoeuvred his way across the bridge much to the delight of the anxious passengers..We went merrily along and met other 'shorter water walls' along the way but made it safely to Belize City where one was greeted by broken trees and a Gas station that had'turned'
A tour of the city showed that the south side (Port Loyola) had a few trees down and a number of light poles on the ground including one which had "hot wires' and which took the life of a brown dog who happened to be at the wrong place at the wrong time. It was a sad sorrowful sight but thank God that was the only casualty reported in Belize City.
Just after midday, I got on board a boat with supplies heading out to Caye Caulker with supplies for the hurricane stricken inhabitants. I was quite shocked to see the extensive damage caused by hurricane Keith on that island. All around there was debris. The place looked like a bomb was dropped.I went and spoke with Hon. Patty Arceo (Area Rep) she mentioned that they had a number of needs but the main need was manpower and material to help to put the pieces together.(Earlier BDF had brought water to ease the acute shortage as the water plant was out.) I also spoke to one of the pastors on the island Pastor Mario Silva. He mentioned needs such as water, food supplies,gasoline, batteries and generator. Caye caulker had many poles and transformers down and could be a long while without power.
Moving from Caye Caulker to Ambergris Caye was fairly swift as I travelled with some journalist in a high powered boat. I thought that Caye Caulker was bad, but San Pedro Ambergris Caye was terrible and the sight that I saw there today (12-14 hours after Keith had moved out) was worse than what I saw eight days after visiting La Ceiba and Sava in Honduras(1998) and worse than what I personally saw in some of the badly hit areas of Jamaica two days after Gilbert had struck in 1988.
San Pedro looked like Sarajevo a year or two ago. All around there was debris and destruction.On the old football field many of the boats were lined up as if getting ready for the referees whistle. On the very very muddy and slippery streets boats were more numerous than golf carts. The two fastest boats from Belize to San Pedro- 'The ThunderBolts" each with engines amounting to 750 HP could not stand up to the power of the surging water and landed on a heap of rubble. (The common means of transportation in San Pedro)All around there was devastation.People were working hard trying to put the pieces together but it will be a long time yet. I am afraid it will take its toll emotionally on the people and so we need to pray.
While in San Pedro I was able to speak with Councillor Omar Arceo he mentioned the need for medicines, medical personnel,food clothing, water. The same was said by Pastor Vidal Gonzalez a local pastor living there for seventeen years.
Pastor Gonzalez lost a number of things including his roof. He however has not lost hope .Let us pray for him.
The worse scenario at San Pedro was the fact that there was loss of life during the passage of Hurricane Keith .
A journalist who was on the boat I was on, reported that she had seen the wrapped body of a dead person.By the time we were told about it and hurried to the sight they had move the body which had washed up on the shore . Two other persons were missing at sea.Later this evening it was reported that 5 persons died during The passage of "Keith" .This is yet to be confirmed. We are however sure that Keith brought death and destruction at the cayes.
As I close, there are plans to get a team from Belmopan to go over to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye. This is a good move and there are tremendous needs . Millions of dollars of property was destroyed . Many , many boats were destroyed ( the main source of livelihood for many of the people on the cayes as it is used either for fishing or tourism and travel.) It will be a long time before things come back to normal.The Prime Minister Hon. Said Musa landed by helicopter just as we were leaving. I am sure he will be as shocked as we were. It wont be easy to put things together again. With God all things are possible.I pray that out of this disaster good will come."