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Oct 30, 2013

Flooding continues to affect communities in Rural Belize

The rains are slowing down and in some areas, floodwaters are beginning to recede. In other areas, residents are having a hard time getting in and out of their houses. Gracie Rock off the George Price Highway experienced severe flooding and in one section of the village, residents are maneuvering through the water with canoes to get to their destination. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

Torrential rains since Thursday of last week continue to wreak havoc in various parts of the country, including Gracie Rock where a handful of farmers are experiencing significant loss of crops and livestock as a result of subsequent flooding.  This morning, we journeyed to central Belize to observe firsthand the deluge that has completely drowned the low-lying areas in that community.  The primary concern among residents here is the aftermath of the flood.

 

Godwin Smith, Former Chairman, Gracie Rock Village

Godwin Smith

“The water coming in is not the problem.  When the water goes down then you have a problem because this place brings a lot of disease and, you know, you have a lot of [livestock] and the cow dehn start get sick and when di cow eat di grass and stuff you have a lot of diseases that come and the problem just [di staat].  Sometimes people get half ah dehn livestock dead.”

 

In an open field nearby a little under a dozen cattle are grazing.  Missing from among the herd is a single cow which perished a few days earlier.  They are the property of Gilford Hoare.

 

Gilford Hoare

Gilford Hoare, Farmer, Gracie Rock Village

“I’ve lost one animal so far.  I hope that ah noh lost nohmo but due to the grass weh dehn need fi get di whole area mi unda wata and normally when di grass just come out dehn noh normally feed pan da grass until fresh grass pop up.  So right now ah know dehn wahn tek wah licking until fresh grass pop up.  Ah noh know weh dehn wahn eat but ah just hope dat ah noh lost noh mo.”

 

According to the villagers, thousands of dollars in crops and livestock are lost annually, particularly around this time of year when the river swells in the wake of the downpours.

 

Godwin Smith

“Right now in this area ya, di wata stay up ya fu two days or so and ih run off but di problem you have people [who] live up and down [di banks] weh unda wata fu like two weeks.  So we need some help out here.  Afta dis, at least fu bout six months dehn need to support these people in Gracie Rock because dehn don’t have no means or have nothing fi live affa because what happen is that they farm over here, dehn raise dehn cow and everything and what happens is [that] in the next two weeks di cow dehn go need help because dehn go start dead.  Dehn eat di grass with di mud on top and dehn need a lot of help.”

 

Residents, on the other hand, are cut off from access to the highway as water levels along some parts of the road are waist high.  Roshelle Hoare says they are having a hard time getting around since certain areas remain inundated.

 

Roshelle Hoare

Roshelle Hoare, Resident, Gracie Rock Village

“From Sunday the water started coming and Monday, like Sunday night ih wash over.  So we got everywhere, the whole land that is low only di hills and so di out.  Well ih kinda really stand bad ‘cause as weh he [Godwin Smith] was saying we noh got no help, nobody cohn check and see if everything is okay.  We noh got no like transport fi di wata so nobody cyan move go dah work no way, so wih stand bad.  Right now di wata still yet deh da di bank level, hope ih noh come up cause ah di rain how ih still yet di rain and thing could come back.”

 

Isani Cayetano

“Now you’ve been a resident of Gracie Rock, I’m assuming from childhood, and this is an annual occurrence.  Every year there is rain, every year there is flood and you go through this repeatedly once a year if not several times for the year.  What is to happen next with regards to either your wellbeing or that of your family or others in the village who are suffering losses due to water and what have you?”

 

Roshellie Hoare

“Well right now, like fu right now we still cyan move nowhere soh ih haad, wi cyan go buy nothing fi eat or so fi, you know.  And then wi plantation weh gaan because ih unda wata so dat mean definitely everything destroy.  Wi noh reach deh yet cause wata still high, cyan really move like that yet fi go check wih product and thing.”

 

In the past, the community has received assistance from government in the form of disaster relief; however, residents are uncertain whether help will be forthcoming this time around. Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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2 Responses for “Flooding continues to affect communities in Rural Belize”

  1. Teacher says:

    Lovely village people!

  2. Beans + Beano = Barrow says:

    >residents are uncertain whether help will be forthcoming this time around
    probably not from GOB, the corruption officers are busy looking for the last GOB dollar.

    They may try to hustle some $$$ from other governments to “help”, creating a new revenue stream to steal from.

    The more Gracie Rock Village and rural Belizeans suffer, the more they can get from other governments, so it may be a while while the rice and beans simmer to bring in the gold.

    hang in there, meantime teach your kids to be corruption officers, then they can bring home the bacon. It is the new Belizean economy.

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