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Sep 1, 2020

Residents Evacuating from Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye

From the S.O.E. to an impending hurricane…There is a sense of urgency in San Pedro in light of the fast-approaching storm. The San Pedro Town Council is asking residents to start putting their family emergency plan into action and to be prepared to seek safe shelter.  It is expected that by Thursday, Nana will strengthen into a hurricane before it makes landfall somewhere along the coast. San Pedro residents were today securing their assets including properties and golf carts.  A release from the San Pedro Town Council asked for calm, saying that precautionary measures for families seeking shelter are being put in place.  Today over a hundred persons left the island en route to the mainland. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

Up to one hundred residents from Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye have so far evacuated to the mainland in anticipation of Tropical Storm Nana that is quickly approaching Belize and is expected to make landfall in the south as a hurricane in less than forty-eight hours. As early as Monday, water taxis were informed by the National Emergency Management Organization that vessels were to be deployed to San Pedro to allow for those who may want to leave.

 

Shameka Pennill

Shameka Pennill, Marketing Manager, San Pedro Belize Express

“We have been called upon to assist the National Emergency Management Organization and that’s what we are doing. Since it has been lifted, management has decided to put in two vessels to start to bring these clients in from San Pedro to evacuate the island from this hurricane.  For now it is just a voluntary evacuation. If you want to get off the island, this will be the time to get off the island now.”

 

The Ministry of Health has put in place safety procedures at the dock to ensure that evacuating persons are not COVID-19 positive, that they are not part of the contact tracing list or that they are not exhibiting any respiratory symptoms.

 

Javier Canul

Dr. Javier Canul, San Pedro Polyclinic II

“We asked the boat companies to alter their manifest to include vital information that would help us with contact tracing should one of these people come out positive. So that would include their destination address, including their phone numbers and other things. So there is a screening in place to minimise anybody that’s sick to leave the island.”

 

Shameka Pennill

“The instruction that I was given, the directive was that persons who have been infected with COVID-19 or is in some kind of tracing with COVID-19—M.O.H. supposed to have this list—and those are the persons that won’t be able to travel. So if you on that list or if they find you not able to travel, then obviously you won’t be able to board the vessel.”

 

While there are concerns about coronavirus, the passengers who disembarked at the terminal in Belize City spoke about leaving their home to weather the storm with relatives on the mainland.

 

Megan Hollan

Megan Hollan, Caye Caulker Resident

“Dehn say that di storm di come and I noh want that when it do come in on Thursday, we wah can’t do nothing about it or can’t go nowhere or the waves choppy and then the boat cannot run. So I literally come in now cause I feel like this dah di best thing fi do.”

 

Duane Moody

“Where are you going right now to your family here in the Belize City? What are you going to do?”

 

Megan Hollan

“So I am going to Cristo Rey for a couple days, maybe three days and then come back cause I am from Caye Caulker, so going for a three-days and come back.”

 

Duane Moody

“Why did you leave the island today?”

 

Rosalina Canche

Rosalina Canche, San Pedro Resident

“Because of the storm and then because I don’t have family there and we don’t have no jobs right there.”

 

Duane Moody

“So where are you going right now?”

 

Rosalina Canche

“With my family.”

 

Duane Moody

“In Belize City?”

 

Rosalina Canche

“Yes.”

 

Jamie Young

Jamie Young, San Pedro Resident

“I come off today because my son have to deh dah Belize [City] with ih ma. So I gwen back on the island right now as soon as the 4:30 boat. So me, I am going back.”

 

Duane Moody

“So for this time, you were basically trapped out there?”

 

Jamie Young

“No, I live out there on the island. I have my home out there, I live out there; I reside out there. I am a licensed fisherman; I will be able to do and survive out there the best I can.  I have family who have big structures and we will just weather the storm out there other than just go elsewhere and catch corona. I mean corona is on the island and it is everywhere right now, but it is best stay safe where you are and full it out that way deh soh and hep it going that way.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.


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