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Mar 18, 2014

Students in Bermudian Landing without potable water for 3 long weeks

In Bermudian Landing, a community in the Belize River Valley, the only government managed primary school, was about to close today because of a three-week old water crisis. The Belize Rural Primary School was birthed from the amalgamation of other schools in the valley, including Rancho Dolores, Bermudian Landing, Scotland Half Moon and Flowers Bank. The idea was to create one school where resources would pool together. But it has not quite worked out as it relates to water. Since late February, the students have had to cross the road to fetch water to drink as well as for other necessities. It came to a head this morning and News Five’s Isani Cayetano was in the community when a water truck pulled up to save the day.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The imminent shutdown of Belize Rural Primary School amidst a prolonged water crisis has fortunately been averted, following the arrival of a water truck from Belize City shortly before midday.  The middle division, amalgamated by the Government of Belize a few years ago, is located in Bermudian Landing.  It has been without potable water for the past three weeks.

 

Marilyn Stephenson, Principal, Belize Rural Primary School

Marilyn Stephenson

“On the twenty-fourth of February, the head teacher here, Ms. Therese Pook, she reported to me that there was no water and they used to get water from across the road to do the toilet, to clean the toilet and then eventually they ran out and so they were out of water for a while and the rains came again and then they got some in the tank over there, like right behind there.”

 

The source, a small vat situated behind the toilet, quickly ran out of water.  With no one in the immediate vicinity to turn to, the drought became a reality, one that Therese Pook is all too familiar with.

 

Therese Pook

Therese Pook, Head Teacher, Belize Rural Primary School

“Last year we had something similar to this happening but as Mrs. Stephenson mentioned earlier, the water truck came and refilled the vat.”

 

Regrettably, that wasn’t the case this time around.  It wasn’t until a concerned parent took to the airwaves to complain about the situation that the matter was hastily resolved.  Also responding to the call was a public health inspector who visited the village to ensure that the well-being of teachers and students was not put at risk.

 

Marilyn Stephenson

“He said he came here because of the call that was made to Love FM this morning.  He thought that something serious was happening, he thought that the children were getting sick and that’s the reason why the person was calling but there is no such thing as that.”

 

What exists is a problem of a different nature.  According to the principal, the services of the lone water truck are thinly stretched.  The vehicle, says the driver, is contracted to provide water wherever necessary and that’s anywhere in the country.  To mitigate the issue of unrestricted usage the school has installed plumbing inside the classrooms.

 

Marilyn Stephenson

“We have a tank, as you saw earlier, that we hold the water in and at first we had people, majority of the people from the community who used to use the water.  We fixed that situation and the gutters were down and so we did not get water because one might say but there were a lot of rains coming.  We did not get any.  When we finally got that fixed we finally got some water in there and if you notice there is leakage at the top so it doesn’t hold much and it goes down.  We even had to put the pipes inside the classroom so that we don’t get people taking the water out.”

 

The water crisis here is largely the result of the wet and dry seasons.

 

Therese Pook

“During the rainy season we don’t have any problems with water.  We have sufficient water to run us up until the dry season but whenever the dry season approaches we are faced with this situation, running out of water and the dry season is just approaching and we are already out of water.”

 

The carrying capacity of the truck is three thousand gallons of water.  It is the principal’s hope, however, that the quantity will suffice their needs in the months ahead.

 

Marilyn Stephenson

“The situation was bad but there was no complaint, no children were getting sick and so we did not close the school.  We were thinking of doing it if we did not get it fixed this week and, as you see, the truck is behind there and we’re getting water now.”

 

Isani Cayetano for News Five.

 

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1 Response for “Students in Bermudian Landing without potable water for 3 long weeks”

  1. Teddy Steinway says:

    Unforgivable that these adults can’t do the simplest of things like collect the rain.

    The children must be sorely unstimulated by this lot.

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