11:30 a.m. Tuesday, 3 October, 2000
My Fellow Belizeans,
The All Clear is now declared for the entire country
of Belize, but the Belize District, including San
Pedro and Caye Caulker, the Orange Walk District and
the Corozal District are now declared Disaster Areas.
The entire country of Belize continues to be subject
to a state of emergency.
I must stress the need for persons residing near
low-lying areas and rivers throughout the country to
exercise extreme caution as Keith continues to produce
heavy, persistent rainfall. These rains can produce
Electricity in San Pedro and Caye Caulker will be down
for several days. In Caye Caulker, the generators have
been extensively damaged. A special team of
electrical experts is being flown in from Canada to
begin the work of restoring electricity to San Pedro
as soon as possible.
Although electrical power supply to Belize City is at
about 60%, full restoration of supply will take a few
days, and even those areas now supplied will at times
experience outages as a result of the repairs taking
place. Many houses in the City have suffered damage.
At a time like this, the personal security and safety
of our citizens must be uppermost in our minds.
I have therefore decided that until electricity is
substantially restored, the Belize District, including
San Pedro and Caye Caulker, will be subject to a
curfew in order to maintain law and order, ensure the
personal safety of all citizens and protect property.
The curfew shall be in effect from 8:00 p.m. to 6:00
a.m., commencing this evening, Tuesday 3 October,
2000. Elements of the Belize Defense Force will join
the Police Department in enforcing the curfew. I
appeal to all citizens in the Belize District to
follow the instructions on the curfew that will be
issued by the Police.
I am happy to report that although there have been
some robberies, no major incidents of looting were
reported during the hurricane, and I am determined to
ensure that the lives and property of all our citizens
will continue be safeguarded.
Our priority is to focus relief efforts on Caye
Caulker, San Pedro and the Northern Cayes. Food,
Medical Supplies and Medical Personnel were deployed
to Caye Caulker and San Pedro early this morning.
Emergency transport has been deployed to bring those
requiring special medical attention to the Karl
Heusner Memorial Hospital.
A damage assessment survey is underway. Preliminary
reports are that in San Pedro, most roofs have
suffered some damage. There are reports of minimal
damage to piers and some beach erosion. Most of the
damage appears to have occurred on the western side of
the island. In Caye Caulker there has been substantial
damage to buildings.
The Belize Defence Force has deployed a vessel with
food provisions to San Pedro and Caye Caulker. Four
relief columns are being deployed to San Pedro and two
to Caye Caulker. Two columns will also be deployed in
The State of the Nation's Infrastructure
At this time we can report that:
All of our Highways are reported to be passable, but
there are areas of the Northern and Western highways
that are not passable for small vehicles and where
extreme caution is essential. The northern highway
between Belize City and Ladyville in some areas may be
under 2 feet of water. Extreme caution must therefore
be exercised on the Highways, especially by small
vehicles and heavy trucks moving cargo.
All major bridges are also reported to be passable.
The Municipal Airstrip is clear. Local aircraft and
light twin-engine international aircraft can land at
the Phillip Goldson International Airport. The San
Pedro runway is being cleared and is usable. The Caye
Caulker airstrip is also clear.
The Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital is functioning,
although it has been extensively damaged. The Orange
Walk Hospital is supplied and functioning. The Corozal
Hospital is functioning at the new clinic building. It
is fully supplied with medications, and has received
offers of help from Mexico.
Fuel is available at some gas stations in Belize City,
and at gas stations in Orange Walk and Corozal Towns.
We are constantly monitoring the fuel situation.
Foreign aid and assistance
We have accepted offers of financial, technical and
emergency relief assistance from several sources,
including the United Kingdom, the United States of
America, the Republic of China, UNDP, PAHO, the OAS,
the Red Cross and the Inter-American Development Bank.
Two British Naval vessels, HMS Cardiff and RFA Black
Rover, are scheduled to arrive in Belize, one by
Thursday night and the other by Friday morning with
100 men to assist the BDF in the relief effort. The
Cardiff has some mechanical expertise and medical
staff, as well as a Lynx helicopter capable of
effecting medical evacuation. The Black Rover has
reverse osmosis equipment capable of producing 40
tonnes of drinking water per day. Hurricane stores
include tarpaulin, wood and tools.
My Fellow Belizeans, we must all offer our prayers and
thanks to God that at this time there are no reported
casualties. Belize has been spared the fatal effects
of what could have been a very devastating hurricane.
The people of Belize have shown remarkable strength
and resilience. We must all keep our spirits up and
continue to lend assistance where we can to each
other. We are aware that many Belizeans countrywide
are volunteering assistance where it is most needed.
After a hurricane of this strength and duration, it is
inevitable that many of the services and comforts we
have become accustomed to will be denied to us.
Let us all be patient and work together to restore all
our services. Let us show the world that even in the
midst of adversity, the Belizean people are capable of
conducting themselves with civility and good order as
law- abiding citizens of a proud nation.
God bless Belize.