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Nov 16, 2015

Macal and Mopan Rivers Rise Amid Torrential Rains in the West

Aside from the south, the downpour over the weekend also affected the western part of the country where the Macal and Mopan Rivers rose above their usual levels. While homes were not affected by flooding, infrastructure was. Bridges, ferries and roads were under water today when Duane Moody was in the Cayo District.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

In the west, the incessant downpour caused flooding in several areas over the weekend….and even though the rains did not let up from Teakettle to Roaring Creek today, children still made their way to school with umbrellas. As we headed to the twin towns of Santa Elena and San Ignacio, water levels in the Macal and Mopan Rivers in the west were up about three feet above normal.

 

Al Westby

Al Westby, NEMO Coordinator, Cayo District

“We noticed the significant rising of the Mopan and the Macal River, which as you know is a concern for residents living along the Macal and the Mopan River banks. However, with our trained teams in these vicinities, we sent out notice to all the villagers and people living along those areas to stay focus and be keen on the rising of the river.”

 

While the rising waters have not infiltrated any homes, NEMO Coordinator, Al Westby says that several bridges are submerged and residents in certain areas must take alternate routes to exist their neighborhood.

 

Al Westby

“We have noticed that yes, the rivers have been going up, but fortunately for us in this area, we haven’t gotten any problem in sense of the flooding in homes and things like that. Most of the calls we are getting is that people, maybe their roadway has two-three feet of water, which is natural—it will run off in couple hours time. But other than that, to say that households are being damaged and things like that; that’s a no, no. Two of the first things that will be displaced—the low-lying wooden bridge that separates San Ignacio and Santa Elena. We have the Iguana Creek Bridge also. But for us, we have the roadway from Bullet Tree on to Spanish Lookout so that road is open—the one we are currently on now. Both ferries—Baking Pot Ferry and Succotz Ferry—are out of commission. Up to yesterday, we had gotten information from the Tourism Unit that the ATM Caves and Barton Creek are closed. As you know we still have tour guides who would want to chance it and take tourists into these dangerous situations so we asked the police for that hand to make sure that these things doesn’t happen.”

 

It is almost like déjà vu, says Westby, because according to the team on the ground, the fluctuating water levels are similar to the 2008 Tropical Depression Sixteen.

 

Al Westby

“The concern basically is once bitten twice shy. We look at the pattern of this flooding and it is similar compared to the pattern of 2008, TD-sixteen. So with that we had to pay keen attention. Up to this moment, we still moving around, mobilizing, going to villages. As you notice, the guys I have around me are the people who do all the ground work for us—not me. These are the guys who are around me. They go and make sure that all surroundings that they can reach is okay and that people’s concerns are addressed. Since morning, we noticed that the water went down about two and a half feet or so, but while coming back from this tour in San Marcus, we noticed that it went up back a foot and it is still going up. So our concern on areas stay the same. From Arenal to Benque; Succotz, Calla Creek, Bullet Tree, Santa Familia, Billie White and all these villages that are flood prone. Santa Elena, San Ignacio, Trapiche, Cristo Rey, El Progresso Seven Miles…we ask everybody to stay focus and just listen to us, listen to NEMO; listen to the relevant news media. There’s a lot of propaganda going out on Facebook that this has been happening in Cayo and things like that. It’s a no. Get to the relevant authorities.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

 

For updates on what’s happening in the Cayo District, residents can call the 936 NEMO hotline or Westby at 630-3224 or 661-3224

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