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Oct 11, 2000

Water still high in Belama

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Prime Minister Said Musa took a firsthand look at the situation along the flooded Hondo and New Rivers this afternoon and what he saw wasn’t pretty. News Five’s Jose Sanchez is just back from the scene and his report will appear later in this newscast. But you don’t have to travel to Orange Walk to see flooded neighbourhoods, as Ann-Marie Williams discovered just a few miles from downtown Belize City.

Ann-Marie Williams

“Hurricane Keith has left the shores of Belize over for a week now; but take a walk behind Belama phases 2 and 3 and you wouldn’t think so. Residents of this quiet community are now left to grapple with a new type of disaster, flooding.”

People in this area, around mile 3 on the Northern Highway are finding it extremely difficult to drive in their neighbourhood let alone walk. Hurricane Keith has left more than 2 feet of water in its path; and a lot of frustrated residents, just ask Gloria Williams, a grandmother of two.

Gloria Williams, Resident

“We cannot get out and the little boy has to go to preschool. There’s no way for me to take him.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Rubber boots don’t help?”

Gloria Williams

“Well, I don’t have boots and I have to carry him. I have 2 grandsons.”

Ann-Marie Williams

“Even those who use rubber boots?”

Gloria Williams

“Well, some parts of the water are deeper than others so boots don’t help at all.”

Oswaldo Reyes, Baker

“It’s very bad, you can’t move around in this water. You cannot do anything. The water stinks. I don’t go out. My son lives over there and they give me something to eat everyday.”

And the many Belizeans who rely on Reyes on a daily basis for their pan dulce are forced to wait out the flood. In the meantime, the baker is not happy about his financial situation.

Oswaldo Reyes

“Very, very bad. Because of the flood, I cannot take out my bike because I will turn over out there and I’ll lose everything. I don’t have any materials. I have already spent out all my money already. I make roughly about $400 a week and now it’s going on to 15 days, that’s about $800.”

Glenda Price who only works in the area finds it ironic that she has to leave her neighbourhood, which is dry to wallow in what has literally become a river.

Glenda Price

“I have to come off by the police station and wait for the BDF truck or maybe my boss would send somebody to pick me up out there. That’s the inconvenience right now and the water, and it seems like it’s still raining. It smells terrible so I don’t advise anybody to walk in it bare foot.

Geraldina Hernandez, Resident

“Right now, more or less it is not so high. It was higher and the children are not allowed to come downstairs as the water is dirty.”

And dirty water breathes fear into those who have to walk in it.

Gloria Williams

“The water smells bad and we are afraid of disease.”

When the water recedes it’s anybody’s guess as to what will be done to the Belama area to ensure residents do not experience this situation in the future. Price has a suggestion.

Glenda Price

“I think the land needs filling. That’s going to take a lot of money right?”

Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

The water running over the Belama neighbourhood consists of runoff from the Haulover Creek contaminated by overflowing septic tanks from the area’s many homes.

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