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Sep 3, 2020

TS Nana Brings Heavy Winds and Little Rain to Southern Belize

Hurricane Nana moved across southern Belize with a rapid trajectory causing far less damage than expected.  It could have been devastating, but instead Belizeans woke up this morning with a huge sigh of relief in the aftermath of the storm.  Belize emerged from the storm with no loss of life and destruction to property has not been as extensive.  Rain and high winds were felt, but damages—except in the agricultural sector where damages are said to be in the millions in the banana industry—are unlike Hurricane Earl in 2016 which was also classified as a category one storm.  Belize City was in the projection of the storm, but the Old Capital also dodged the bullet. Nana made landfall between Hopkins and Placencia in the Stann Creek District after midnight.  The southern communities were the most affected and this is where we start our coverage tonight.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

The passage of Tropical Storm Nana, as a Weak Category One Hurricane, over southern Belize brought with it gusty winds overnight that peaked at approximately seventy-five miles per hour.  While the weather system was expected to produce torrential downpours of up to ten inches in certain areas of the country, there was little rainfall associated with the tempest.  Instead, gale-force winds wreaked havoc over several communities in Stann Creek District, including Silk Grass Village.


Delroy Valerio

Delroy Valerio, Chairperson, Silk Grass Village

“Based on our assessment that we did earlier this morning, we found out that sixteen families have been displaced because of the roofs falling off, some of them went flat to the ground.”


The roof on this building which has for years been used by the community for various activities such as summer school and religious outreach, has also collapsed.


Alison Jones

Alison Jones, Resident, Silk Grass Village

“I was here, right next door and some folks, because places, yes, were open because they got crowded and people have been scared of COVID.  So they actually called and said, “Can we come over?”  And I said yes.  I opened the doors to not only this building but the other building beside me as well and I even opened my home.  It was about 11:30, coming on close to twelve. And then we felt for about an hour the winds started coming in and so at the last, just before that happened, the winds really started gusting and we locked up everything.  All we could hear was a big explosion.  Boom!  And I said, “Oh my gosh, what’s going on out there?”


That frightening noise was in fact the sound of the roof crashing down upon the lower structure.


Alison Jones

“The lights went off, the water tank cover blew away and it sounded like everything, zinc was flying all over the place.  So I heard everything firsthand and it was scary.”


Adelma Salam

Around that same time in Hopkins on Wednesday night, TS Nana was also busy tearing off the zinc roof from this elevated wooden house.  Its occupants were seeking shelter outside of the village.  By the time Adelma Salam returned home this morning, she found the rooftop on the ground below.


Adelma Salam, Resident, Hopkins Village

“When I heard that the hurricane was coming I moved out.  So when I got the news this morning, they told me that the roof flew out.  I feel sad.”


Isani Cayetano

“Where did you seek shelter yesterday?”


Adelma Salam

“I went to my, I moved out of Hopkins, I went to my father-in-law’s house in Alta Vista.”


Isani Cayetano

“You’ve come back to find that the roof is missing from your house.  Talk to us about either the assistance that you will need to rebuild the roof or repair the roof or the extent of the damages that you’ve suffered.”


Adelma Salam

“Well, to be honest, I’m just renting here.  I don’t have a house to call a home.  I’m just renting here, I’m working here in Hopkins.”


While the burden of structural repairs will fall on Salam’s landlady, other residents in and around Hopkins were busy removing debris, as well as fallen trees, from their properties.  The cleanup effort was led by chairman Orlando Augustine.


Orlando Augustine

Orlando Augustine, Chairman, Hopkins Village

“We did an assessment of the community.  We have not completed that as yet but so far we have some lot of damages in the community.  We have some houses that have no roof.  Right now I have identified ten houses with no roof.  We have two houses [that have] fallen down on the ground right now, as we speak, and then we have a lot of trees that are across the street and we need them to be cleared out so that people can have access to their homes.”


The buzzing of chainsaws and other equipment could be heard across the community.  The movement of persons who sought shelter with family and friends could also be seen as they return to their respective homes.


Orlando Augustine

“We are very fortunate that we don’t have a flood.  Last night, again, we are fortunate, we had heavy winds but there was no rain.  Only, you know, a little bit of rain and after that up to this morning we don’t have any rain this morning.”


Back in Silk Grass, the damages at Alvarez Nursery are significant.  Noe Alvarez, a botanist by trade, is picking up what’s left of his garden center.  Rebuilding, he says, will take some time.


Noe Alvarez

Noe Alvarez, Proprietor, Alvarez Nursery

“It’s a lot of money, it’s a lot of money right now.  You can see a lot of plants got destroyed, but life continues so we have to fight for life.  We’ll still continue to do this.  We just di start to try build up back.”


Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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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