Flooding in Crooked Tree Village unbearable for residents
The rains have been incessant for weeks upon weeks. In the Belize River Valley, the Crooked Tree causeway is under water and residents, including students, have to be shuttled by boat. Food has run out, tourism activity is non-existent and now health problems are creeping up. The number of persons experiencing cough and athlete’s foot has skyrocketed. Duane Moody reports.
Many villages in the Belize River Valley area are currently experiencing water levels rising alongside its river banks and many residents have been affected by the recent weather conditions; some have even had to evacuate.
“Flooding especially in the Crooked Tree Area is the result of the inclement weather over the past month that has been pounding the entire country. The causeway and of course one point five miles along the stretch of road to the entrance of Crooked Tree has been flooded with at least four feet of water in some areas and even higher.”
With the assistance of the Belize Coast Guard, the Belize Audubon Society, NEMO and the Crooked Tree Village Council, some one hundred and ninety residents; including students, laborers and other persons are shuttled by boat in and out of the village along this channel adjacent to the inundated road. It is a daily routine that has become a burden to villagers.
George Guest, Resident
“Water started to rise mid October, maybe September because if the government released the Mollejon when it was the dry season, then I don’t think the Mollejon would have burst its banks like it keep on doing and flooding Cayo and San Ignacio. But here we get all the backlash because we are the sponge for all of the country.”
“In the morning, dehn kids have to walk barefoot till dehn reach. Even last night, my son come home and ih shoes wet, wet, wet and ih have cold.”
Sherla Adolphus, Resident
“I don’t get no sell. Nobody comes out because it is wet, it is flooding. It is affecting me a lot because I noh even get no way to go buy anything.”
“Everybody is talking about the unavailability of food stuff and things like that. Are you experiencing the same thing?”
“I experience a lot of that. We villagers, all of us not only me, everybody need a little supply of groceries, food because I think that is the biggest issue right now in the village and the water, we need little rubber boots because everybody is getting water itch in this village.”
It is currently high season in the tourism industry for the village, but because of the flooded road, there has been little to no activity. This according to Judith Tillett of Tillett’s Village Lodge has had an economical effect on the business as well as those employed by the lodge.
Judith Tillett, Tillett’s Village Lodge
“Since this time, we noh get no guests as yet and by this time, we woulda mi done get guests and we employ people too so all dehn people deh outta job.”
“How many people do you guys employ?”
“What’s going to happen? It’s been three weeks since the water has been up, no guests, high season start for the tourists and they are not coming in.”
“Well really, it is really terrible because all the people weh mi need. And like nobody noh di help we in the village. Sometimes I think about it and people noh know weh we di go through. People di sit down ina di office in Belize City and dehn noh know weh di happen in Crooked Tree. It will be at least two and a half months. The water noh stop rise as yet and after it raise it will take at least a month or up to six weeks to go down again.”
For the past three weeks, there has also been an increase in the number of persons seeking medical assistance and today the health center received a cache of medicines to treat cough and athlete’s foot.
Antoinette Tillett, Rural Health Nurse
“A lot of kids have cough and cold and a lot of children get athletes foot because they walk in the mud. And they can’t walk on the road with a shoes because it is slippery so they would skate if they do that so they walk barefoot. Most people do that.”
“How many persons have you seen so far that have that condition and what are you guys doing? What is the ministry doing to try to assist with this problem?”
“Well they had just sent in some medication today. I had some where I was treating with athlete’s foot and cough and cold. A lot of people, the increase in athletes foot, I have never seen it so much. The cough and cold is a regular thing but it has increased since the flooding.”
According to one resident, while the waters are not as high as that experienced back in 2008 during Tropical Depression sixteen, it has nevertheless been affecting the villagers.
“If we get any more rain or water coming from the west, then it will push up even more. Right now it is flattening out, but it is moving up the hills. Every time it rains now, we are getting backlash from Cayo. In 2008, if you ever look at the Baptist Church over there, it was up to there. And the building in front of me was covered in water.”
According to residents as well as the chairman of the village, it has been three weeks since they have been experiencing the difficulties, but Minister of State Edmund Castro has not visited the village to render any form of assistance. Duane Moody for News Five.