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Oct 26, 1998

City Council offers free transport

While forecasters at the Belize Weather Bureau continue to track the movements of the powerful hurricane, in Belize City and rural areas, shelters are beginning to open for people who are fleeing low lying areas. According to Belize City Mayor Marshall Nuñez, the Shelter and Evacuation Sub-Committee has gotten the green light from Cabinet to start moving residents from areas likely to be flooded and cut off from the rest of the nation.

Marshall Nuñez, Belize City Mayor

“The Shelter and Food Committee last night, we worked up until about midnight setting up an evacuation plan for the Belize District. That was taken to Cabinet. Cabinet in fact is still in a meeting and we were waiting directive from them to implement either opening the shelters or evacuating people, starting with those people in the priority one areas.

In fact just a while ago, we received a call from Cabinet to see how many shelters we can open right away. What happen is that police will be providing security for those shelters and the public officers will be the people running the shelters. In a little while we will define which can open and then we will be opening them right away.”

Q: “Where are the priority one areas you are talking about?”

Marshall Nuñez

“Those are the areas in Belize Rural. The St. Paul’s Bank, Willow’s Bank; those areas that have rivers and ponds and lagoons that are likely to be flooded quickly. If Cayo is already under high water, the water will be running down in these low-lying areas. We gotta get those people out there in a hurry.

The priority two areas would be the other villages in the rural areas but that are more accessible to the highways as well as the low-lying areas in Belize City. The london-bridge areas in Belize City: Lake I, Collet, Port Loyola, Belama Area 1, 2 and 3, Caribbean Shores and the coastline: the Alberts, by foreshore area, the coastline in the Fort George division. So those would be our priority two areas.

Priority three would be the rest of Belize City mainly and those are the ones that would be in safer areas and would be the last for us to evacuate if there is a need.”

The National Emergency Management Organization has secured the cooperation of two major bus companies, Batty’s and Novelo’s to provide free transportation for persons living in low-lying swampy areas in Belize City who wish to move inland. The public is reminded that these buses will only take people who have made prior arrangements with relatives and friends inland.

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