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Oct 31, 2002

A look back: Hurricane Hattie hits Oct. 31, 1961

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With the worst part of the hurricane season behind us, many Belizeans are tempted to breathe a sigh of relief that after three major hurricanes in four years, mother nature has finally given us a break. But not so fast…for it was on October thirty-first, 1961 that a monster storm named Hattie slammed into the coast between Dangriga and Belize City. When it was over, one hundred and ninety-eight people had died and much of the central coast lay in ruins. Until now, those Belizeans who did not live through that night forty-one years ago, only know of Hattie through still photographs. Tonight we are privileged to present what we believe are the only moving pictures of Hattie’s destruction. The eight millimetre film was shot the morning of November first by Bill Wildman, a land surveyor then living in a house on the Newtown Barracks, directly behind what is now the Belize Pickwick Club. The pictures speak for themselves, but we will give a few hints. The pretty young woman walking down the stairs is Norma Fairweather… and the fellow poking around the ruins of the old Belize City hospital is George Price, then First Minister of British Honduras.

(Clips of Hattie’s destruction)

Again, we’d like to thank Bill Wildman for making that film available to us.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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