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Oct 19, 2015

Flood Devastates Impoverished City Communities

In our newscast tonight, we have full coverage of the unexpected extreme weather conditions that went from a long drought to three days of torrential rains. According to forecasters, the City was drenched with as much as twenty-three inches of rainfall causing extensive flooding in many areas that caught residents off-guard.  Fortunately, there has been no loss of life, but in its aftermath damage to the property mostly of the south-side has turned their lives upside down. The waters in some areas receded by this morning; but deep inside some neighborhoods, folks are beginning to pick up the pieces. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The blanket squalor of Ghost Town, a tight-knit neighborhood that is all but forgotten, is hard hit by the sudden deluge that washed over Belize City this past weekend.  As if the preexistent conditions weren’t already testing, the endless downpour has left in its wake significant damage.  Virtually everything has been further destroyed by water.

 

Glenies Wright

Glenies Wright, Mayflower Street Resident

“Di yaad full, di house full because di roof di leak real bad.  So ih mi bad fi me, you know, very bad.”

 

So much so that like other residents in this warren of makeshift houses that is Mayflower Street, Glenies Wright has had to set tubs inside her bedroom to catch the dripping water.  The ceiling above is sodden in several places.

 

Glenies Wright

“Ah got two tubs ah wata, you know, outta mi ceiling and ah dehn een ya dih fight fi back dehn mihself fi empty it and set it back, you know, and ih hard ih really hard.”

 

Beneath the elevated structure, the wooden flooring is also rotting.  While it may not have been the result of the incessant rains, the saturated floorboards now risk collapsing altogether.  Elsewhere, water has settled in the narrow passage.  It is a challenge to negotiate the ankle-high muck leading to the rear of the alley.  Once there, we enter the home of an elderly couple.  The situation here is progressively worse.

 

Celestino Lewis Valerio, Mayflower Street Resident

“I don’t get no help from no kind of minister here in Belize City.  I don’t get no help.  I only fight hard fu patch up di top ah my house fu mek di rain no ketch me.  I try di other day, I gaan gaan put some plastic to the top and ih still di rain and I still di get wet up with my common-law wife, you know.”

 

Celestino Lewis Valerio

Isani Cayetano

“How were you able to make it through the weekend seeing as though with all the heavy rain and the leakage into your property?  How were you able to make it through this weekend?”

 

Celestino Valerio

“Well I mek it very good because weh paat ih rain I just shift myself eena wahn corner and sleep good, you know, I sleep good when I shift myself eena wahn corner.  I sleep like wahn animal.”

 

Outside the residence is litter, loads of it.  The filth that separates the houses is indescribable.  Among the heap of discarded plastics and other debris is a flock of ducks.  The muddle of stagnant water, garbage and droppings is a breeding ground for vector borne diseases, yet children are at home here, sitting on an old sofa to pass the time.  After all, majority of what’s inside their houses is drenched.

 

Ortencia Richard, Mayflower Street Resident

“It’s just our beds and the TV.  The TV got wet so it’s not showing.  That’s just the problem, the roof, due to the breeze the roof lifted.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now on Saturday night when all this rain was pouring down, how were you able to manage, in terms of all the water and the wind and everything?”

 

Ortencia Richard

Ortencia Richard

“Okay, I’ll start from Friday.  I experienced the wind and the rain on Friday so I said, you know what it’s best for me to go over to my friend’s house and I went all the way to Los Lagos to shelter from the weather and when I came back this morning then this is what I found.  The beds, everything was soaked.  Clothes, everything; the TV not working.”

 

It is difficult to appreciate the plight of the Ghost Town community without taking into consideration the political undercurrents.  Residents simply feel abandoned by their area representative.

 

Glenies Wright

“No kinda help.  Tiad ah seek help so, you know, ah haftu try pan mi own now because ah done sih ah noh di get help from nowhere else so, you know, ah no know weh ah wahn do.  Ah gotta keep on pushing, ah cyant stop.”

 

Ortencia Richard

“I’ve been asking the minister for assistance like over seven years now and since this weather came down then it just got worse and I have my six-month-old [grand] baby.  I have my two daughters who represent Belize often for softball and we really need some assistance.  Everybody in this area needs some assistance especially when it comes to improving their housing.  So we would like our minister, Honorable Patrick Faber to come and assist us.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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