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Aug 4, 2016

Belize River Valley Residents Show Fortitude in the Wake of Earl

The Belize River Valley also experienced the downpour of the hurricane and residents are not bracing for impending floods. Like in other communities in the path of Earl, damages were sustained to houses and livestock and there is the potential for further losses as the days go by. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The passage of Hurricane Earl across the northern part of Belize District has left in its wake significant damage.  Along the Phillip Goldson Highway, on both sides, trees and power lines are either leaning or toppled.  The Belize River Valley, a flood prone area, is also expected to be inundated in the coming days, as water dumped by the weather system will make its way downstream.  In Burrell Boom, a number of residents, including Patricia Segura, have suffered losses.

 

Patricia Segura

Patricia Segura, Hurricane Victim

“We just geh sohn lee bit of groceries and we just bake some Johnny Cakes on the fire hearth and me and my husband we try fix up di place as much as possible and put up wi animals dehn and stay right in our house.  Our chairlady called us two times, she was behind us to go to the shelter.”

 

Indeed, chairlady Erlene Baptist-Pandy made several attempts to have residents of the community relocate to the assigned shelters or find higher ground.  Those efforts, for the most part, were futile.

 

Erlene Baptist Pandy

Erlene Baptist Pandy, Chairperson, Burrell Boom Village

“From the moment we heard about the hurricane coming I have been making several calls, I’ve been appealing to people, calling them on my cell but some of them won’t move.”

 

Segura and her family stayed put and braved the weather at home mainly out of concern for their animals.  She lost several chickens to the hurricane.

 

Patricia Segura

“We refused because we feel more safer home cause I neva trust to go because of my animals them and we stayed home me and all my kids them and I just text my ressa children them and mek sure that dehn okay and from deh we stay up til afta three dis morning and ah couldn’t bear it no mo, stay up til afta three.  So when we wake up dis mawnin da then we sih di damage, you know, when I come outside; first thing I couldn’t open the front door because wah tree was on my house.  Di zinc dehn, well up to now ah only find bout four sheet.  Five sheet a zinc disappear.  One of my vat burst and the water went out when ih burst.  Ah lose like eight chickens, eight chickens get damaged and ah lose them.”

 

Elsewhere in the village, businesses were also hit.  On the bank of the Belize River sits a restaurant that’s quite popular among tourists visiting Burrell Boom.  The eatery is surrounded by trees, many of them decades old.  During the storm branches and trunks came crashing down upon the structure.

 

Justin Myers, Resident, Burrell Boom

“The wind was crazy, I mean it was gusting, it was outrageous.  I mean it was a lot of wind.  I expected more rain from this but the wind, as you can see, there is so much damage it’s crazy.” 

 

Justin Myers

Isani Cayetano

“When you got out there this morning and looked at some of the structural damages what all did you observe?”

 

Justin Myers

“Whoa, a lot fallen trees, a lot of big trees, aged trees.  Logwood, bullet trees, a lot of different, numerous kinds of trees, a lot of hardwood and the wind made them look like nothing.  I mean they’re split up as you guys can see, it’s all broken up and everything is torn to pieces, leaves all about the place, branches.  It’s going to be a lot of work in the next couple days.”

 

As with others in different parts of the country, villagers here are adamant on staying at home, despite the fact that there are several houses located in low-lying areas.

 

Erlene Baptist-Pandy

“Usually here in Burrell Boom people always wait until the appointed time when the storm is almost on them to come and look for shelter and there are a few people whose homes are not fit for them to stay in.”

 

While Segura has already completed her damage assessment, she admits that some of the losses she suffered can only be replaced on a long-term basis.  Most importantly, she is grateful not to have suffered any casualties to the hurricane.

 

Isani Cayetano

“Do you believe that you would be able to recover from some of these losses within a short period of time or is this something you would have to work on in the long term?”

 

Patricia Segura

“Well, some of it we wah recover short but some of it wahn be long term.  But one thing ah could always seh we thank God we are alive, you know, because some places some people get dead and thing.  But we thank God that God still di look over us.  We are not too bad, he still looks over us and we are okay and alive.  Thank God for that.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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