Hurricane Keith update

Posted By: Marty

Hurricane Keith update - 10/05/00 05:20 PM

Some damages in Belize City, the center of much of government activity
on the coastal flood plain. Hopefully a new set of lessons will be
learned from this by a new generation of Belizeans. The generation that
moved the capital to Belmopan and insisted on concrete buildings after
the lesson of Hurricane Hattie are all old people now and dying off. For
the new government managers, this is their first experience with any kind
of hurricane hit. Albeit, this is still just a small hit, by a small
intense hurricane. And damage is very localized. Little bit of Belize
City, but big on Caye Caulker and San Pedro the tourist towns on the
Great Barrier Reef islands. Certainly this new generation need to take
to heart the nonsense of investing government tax revenues in building up
government buildings and departments in the port Belize City on a flood
plain. The Central Bank building was one such fiasco.
There are photos of Caye Caulker damage and San Pedro damage at:

Government is estimating damages of $45 USA million to crops, $100 USA
in property damage, $55 USA to the infra-structure. For a rough total of
$200 USA million.

Inter-American Bank has given the GOB a $100,000, Taiwan made a
small donation, but just went through their own hurricane/cyclone, so
they have their own re-construction problems. The USA is extending drug
interdiction equipment in the case of helicopters and some equipment for
ferrying people, which presumably will arrive today. If they have a
portable antenna booster for cellular telephone, that would help
tremendously for Caye Caulker and can get internet computers functioning,
it will be a whole lot easier to coordinate disaster relief to the island
with island communications. Our private foreign owned BTL
telecommunications monopoly had been sucking out all the profit from the
country they could get these past few years in anticipation of the end of
their contract, in dividends and failed to provide a unit, or mobile
portable units for disaster communications. SHAME ON THEM!
About 40 vessels that were in the boatyard at San Pedro were
destroyed. Tropic Airline a local affair, were ferrying planes to
Belmopan and got all the expensive biggies to Belmopan for protection,
but didn't have enough time to get the small ones out before the winds
picked up and were blowing to hard, to move them. The small planes got
totalled. Presumably bought on bank loans, they will be insured.
Kay Smith a USA resident of Caye Caulker died from trying to move a
catamaran as the tropical depression approached, but it blew up in just 3
hours faster than they could move into a Force 4 hurricane. 163 mph
gusts recorded on Caye Caulker. This wind blew them out to sea over the
barrier reef. They were blown about 70 miles in a south easterly
direction and wrecked on Lighthouse Reef Atoll. One survivor, Henry
Bahh. Missing and presumed dead are Sergio Alamina of Caye Caulker and
Oswald Moz.
Several planes have flown into Ambergris Caye or Caye Caulker with
relief supplies and reporters. There is a shipment of supplies going
down out of Texas for both Caye Caulker and San Pedro, some of which is
financed by the Belize Development Trust and the hurricane account
established by the web master Marty Casado on the West Coast in Oregon.
We are similarly working on the situation here in Miami area. Trying
to see if we can find a plane we can afford. Contributions in this
geographic area have been zilch. We do have a couple of computers, a
generator and odds and ends privately, but the commercial airlines will
not allow it for baggage. We'd like to buy a bunch of tents for Caye
Caulker, kerosene lamps and canned and packaged food. Without
electricity on Caye Caulker and no likelihood of getting any soon, the
island town which had grown from a village has become dependent on a
modern infra-structure. If we could get sufficient funds am in the mind
to include zinc corrugated roofing and charter a DC-3 for a direct flight
to the islands. Since Caye Caulker has been demolished, the growth into
a town, now leaves more than a thousand people over and above the normal
800 that call it a home, who cannot live subsistance. Bit like a bombed
city in the Balkans, except no supplies of any kind are getting through
for people to purchase and no refrigeration to keep perishables anyway
without electricity.
Time for me to leave and work the phones! Hard to believe this is day
SIX! Lets see what the options are and costs for the DC - 3 this morning
and or a small plane capable of refueling in Key West and Cozumel and
making the flight to Caye Caulker.
From the photos we have a better idea of the needs.
Hurricane Keith update: Oct 5 th., 2000 10:00 EST
from Belize Development Trust Hurricane Network
Ray Auxillou
Posted By: Grace

Re: Hurricane Keith update - 10/05/00 05:29 PM

Please let me know if you get a flight from Miami! Email at [email protected]
Posted By: Helen

Re: Hurricane Keith update - 10/05/00 05:40 PM

Thanks or the update, Marty.

$200,000,000 US dollars is equal to $400,000,000 Belize dollars for those of you who do not know the exchange rate.

That's mindboggling!!!! We need the US and world media to report this information to everyone in the world! It will take a global effort to get Belize back to the beautiful vacation destination it was before Keith hit.

Let's all spread the word!

One final note: Could someone with connections to the Belize Govenment please ask them to conact worldwide media resources to get news teams to Belize to cover this devastating event? I know It would help the victims, residents, and tourism for Belize and people in other areas who want to know more a great deal. Please respond.

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