Santa Familia and Calla Creek were also heavily hit by the flooding, not only Bullet Tree. As was shown on the tv news channels last night, all that could be seen from the air, for example in Calla Creek, were the roofs of single story dwellings --- the second floors of two story homes.
BELIZE FLOOD REPORT # 2 , Dec 21,2008
By Ray Auxillou
The storm system, which produced so much rain over Belize and Guatemala seems to be moving North and is up along the Mexican coast near Bahia Ascuncion this Tuesday morning. The storm even shows an eye in the center, on the satellite pictures.
LOVE TV seems to have dedicated itself to be the National Flood Emergency center and they are on television and on the internet for foreign listeners abroad. They can be found at:
http://www.lovetv.com.bz Usually there are two people taking calls from people around the nation of Belize, via cell phones, into the flood emergency reporting desk. They speak CREOLE a local coastal dialect so may not be understandable to a foreign audience. Nor do they clearly enunciate their spoken words, often mumbling unintelligibly. They should have streaming video. Our Emergency committee people made up of civil servants assigned to the NEMO government agency for disasters and emergencies has been reporting through this www.lovetv.com.bz emergency desk. The people are doing a really good job. Questions and answers are being relayed to appropriate personel, through calling the lovetv emergency flood desk. Most of the country are listening and watching events. This is live reality reporting as it happens. On the ground, the police, NEMO bureaucrats and many, many, hundreds of volunteers all along the river bank communities are organizing and carrying out rescue efforts. Often under the leadership of a village council elected chairman. The biggest shortages right now seem to be and food supplies. Some livestock have been lost. Downstream today, the lower are being advised by radio and cell phone to evacuate their livestock to higher ground. The flood crest seems to have passed Belmopan junction right now. There is only around ten inches of water over the Western Highway, , single lane bridge at the junction to the capital . Police are on both sides directing traffic and vehicles can pass. Albeit, the wheels are half way under water.
Bullet Tree Falls seems to be the only village community that has a sour note. Some of the houses have been submerged and many residents fear to leave and are short of food and water. The reason is that Bullet Tree Falls has been plagued with small groups and individuals, that are supposed to be either CRACK ADDICTS, or ALCOHOLICS and even they though periodically are sent to jail for stealing, when they get out of jail, they return to a life of crime as their career livelihood. Reports of houses being burglarized after people have been evacuated are coming in to the news desk. There is no police presence available at the moment. Human resources are stretched thin, from government departments.
Elsewhere in the country and all along the flood area of the , the NEWS is all good, of good minded Samaritans, helping and organizing to clear bridges, help those injured or in distress and otherwise coming together in a manner that makes one proud to be a Belizean and brings tears to my eyes, when the stories are relayed by cell phone from far and wide. The run of the Belize River across the width of the country is about 75 miles as an airplane flies, but about 200 miles along the banks of the winding river. The flood crest is moving steadily Eastward to the coast and is taking a long time to recede after the crest passes. This is due to the huge area in Guatemala which is the feeder and cachement area for the flood water pouring into Belize through the .
The good news from CAYO DISTRICT area; is that the flood waters are going down slowly. Iguana Creek bridge across the Belize River from the Western Highway to , is still under water and cannot be seen, but this morning it was reported that a stop sign on the submerged paved road, had appeared above the water level and from this marker, it was estimated the flooded river area was down about three feet. I'll be traveling into Santa Elena and San Ignacio from Hillview about midday and see what is happening there. ( The Macal River was down about 10 feet, but still high on the city side.) The Macal river had been dropping yesterday already though. It was still high at the time, and about four feet under the high Hawksworth steel bridge. I would think it would be lower today. It hasn't rained much here overnight, though right now we are getting a strong heavy rain shower. From the satellite photos on television we are only getting the tail end of the storm as it moves north.
Longer term and immediately, we are probably going to see some cholera cases, as the flood waters are polluted with cattle dung, septic tank waste and that sort of thing. The medical people need to have in supplies to treat cholera. River bank farms and communities are going to have a lot of cleaning up to do and repairs. Some people have lost everything. Building along a river bank is beautiful living most of the time, but houses need to be built at least up on 14 foot posts above the ground for such things as floods. Floods don't come as often as the cold or a flu, but you can be sure they will come periodically. Just one of the prices one pays for living in PARADISE. The land of eternal spring. Would we move to another country, the answer would be NO!
Wednesday Oct 22 nd midday update:Just passed over the Hawksworth steel bridge, the old one lane English Colonial installed bridge that joins the twin towns across the Macal River. The water hadn't really dropped that much since the last 24 hours. Only now it is about 10 feet below the bottom of the Hawksworth bridge itself and that is six feet lower than 24 hours ago. Still high and one supposes the Macal River is blocked by the Mopan River coming from Guatemala with their longer flood period of coming down stream. The Low bridge cannot be seen as it must be under 20 feet of water at least? It is about a mile from the Hawksworth bridge to the junction of the two rivers, where they form the new Belize River.
The politicians are on the radio. I only heard a bit of the odd long winded speeches. They are promising aid to those families who have had their houses submerged from NEMO stocks whenever the flood recedes and people can get in there.
I would think that the major thing the government can plan on doing, is getting the Public Works Graders out and running over all the roads and streets in the effected areas. Particularly the whole Cayo District. Going to cost a bit in diesel fuel, but the streets up our way are in bad shape as many mudholes have turned into gullies on streets, from vehicles getting stuck in the mud up to their axles and having to be pulled out. I would think those roads and streets under the flood itself would be in worse shape. Things will have to dry out though. Doesn't look like the flood is going anywhere soon, for at least another week.
If the access roads and streets are graded, then a lot of the recovery can be done by people themselves. Trucks and buses running again in to the remoter areas will enable supplies to get in for repairs and recovery.