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Aug 5, 2016

Hurricane Surge Litters the City with Sludge and Garbage

At new time tonight, here at Channel Five we remain without electricity even while most of Coney Drive has been powered up, which means that we are in the twenty percent countrywide that remain without power from B.E.L.  Tonight’s broadcast has been prepared with the use of generators, so we ask our audience to bear with us. But we start with the massive cleanup effort, led by the Belize City Council, which is underway tonight.  In the aftermath of Hurricane Earl which made landfall in Belize on Wednesday night, streets and roadways are covered in sludge.  With the storm surge came several inches of solid waste and sludge which blanketed certain areas of the Old Capital, including Regent and Albert streets.  Dozens of CitCo employees have since been working diligently to assist in the restoration campaign to return a sense of to Belize City.  This afternoon Mayor Darrell Bradley laid out a comprehensive plan which identifies the areas hardest hit and CitCo’s objectives in dealing with the mounting debris.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We have already begun to address it with a great degree of alacrity; we have been in a series of meetings to coordinate activities. Councilor Phillip Willoughby has been very instrumental in many of the efforts liaisoning between CEMO, which is still operational, in terms of our emergency commander center and NEMO in relation to accessing certain particular assets and resources. What we have done since the storm subsided is that we have deployed all City Council equipment including backhoes, open trucks and personnel to various areas of Belize City which are priority areas. We are talking about areas along Southern Foreshore, Regent Street, Yarborough, Caesar Ridge Road and Jane Usher Boulevard.  We had crews in there; we still have crews along the Caesar Ridge Road area. It is not clean and it will not be cleaned in the near future, but our personnel are out there. We also have crews along East and West Collet Canal. What we have determined to do, generally speaking, is that we are dividing the city into three areas if we will: the area from Central American Boulevard and beyond that; and then the area from Central American Boulevard on to the Caribbean Sea and then the north side. And we have been given additional support. Tomorrow we will have personnel from the Forestry Department who will assist us in cutting down some of the larger trees so that we can smallen the amount of debris that we have to move away and then we will cart those away. We also are getting significant support from the B.D.F. in terms of personnel. One of the things that that City Council also has done is that we have hired temporary workers to come on board to support our sanitation workers. We roughly have about a hundred and forty people right now on the ground together with about fifteen backhoes and fifteen open trucks throughout Belize City, cleaning the area. But we are recognizing that that is not near where we need to be in terms of having the city clean by at least Sunday evening for operational normalcy by Monday at eight o’clock. We are trying to do as much as we can. One of the things that we were able to source also is that we have two water trucks going throughout Belize City, spraying off the streets; we also have been getting assistance from the Fire Department with one of their fire vehicles. And we’ve prioritize the tourism areas; we’ve been coordinating with the B.T.B. to try to get at least the tourism assets up and running because we know that Belize will be a port of call on Tuesday. They are trying not to have any disruption in the tourism flow. So that we have identified B.T.L. Park; we’ve been cleaning that as thorough as we can. There is substantial damage there; we had substantial structural damage to many of the booths—one of them was completely destroyed—so that we are at least clearing that area and make it moderately bearable and open for operations. We also identified substantial work that needs to be done along and surrounding the Memorial Park area and the area of the tourism zone. Memorial Park took heavy sludge; there’s a lot of mud and sludge in there, so that we have been working on that area from this morning in terms of having the fire trucks spray the streets and cleaning out Memorial Park.”

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