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Nov 30, 2020

Flooded, Impassable Streets and Displaced Persons in Rural Belize District

Over sixty persons are in shelters in rural Belize District as several villages and homes remain under water. A number of access roads are also under several feet of water and impassable by smaller vehicles and in some cases boats have to be used to very persons to and from their homes. Today, News Five headed back to rural Belize District, including the Western Paradise Village where water levels are up to three feet in houses. Here’s reporter Duane Moody.  


Duane Moody, Reporting

While there have been little to no rain for the past few days, there are a number of access roads across rural Belize District that remain under several feet of water and impassable to pedestrians and small vehicles. At some points in the Belize River Valley, including a portion of the Boom/Hattieville Road, the street is under roughly four feet of water.


Alpheus Gillett

Alpheus Gillett, Belize Rural Coordinator, NEMO

“Flood water is still up at this time. On the Burrell Boom/Hattieville Road, water is around I would say three to four feet of water on that road; the Belize River Valley Road, around Black Orchid area, still impassable. We have about four feet of water to the approach of Rancho Bridge, so it is impassable for small vehicles; the Crooked Tree causeway, still impassable; the road access to May Pen, still impassable. Bomba, the water is about one and a half foot on the road; much bigger vehicle can pass in that area.”


Many houses in villages such as Rancho Dolores and Lemonal remain under water, even as water is said to be receding slowly. As such, there are over sixty persons in shelters across rural Belize District.


Alpheus Gillett

“People are still displaced. At this point in time we have about sixty-seven persons still in shelter; mainly in the Burrell Boom area, Bermudian landing, Lemonal and Crooked Tree because some areas are still flooded, but the good news is that water is receding. What we are highly concentrating on is providing that immediate relief supplies for families who have been displaced or affected the most.”


There are sections of the George Price Highway that are under several inches of water. Mile twenty near the cut-off to Gracie Rock is submerged and between miles ten and eight in the Western Paradise Village, traffic is slowed down considerably as motorists make their way through the gushing waters. A number of fishers are diving in the flood zone for tilapia and on site, scrape and sell their catch.

The savannah in the area has been overflowing for some weeks now and it is a glimpse of the disaster residents are facing in the Western Pines and Sunset areas of the village.


Arlene Requeña, Chairlady, Western Paradise Village

“The part of the village that’s known as Westlake the water has been going down; it’s going slow. But Westlake is in a much better position right now than Sunset and Western Pines. The main entrance to Sunset is waist-deep for me, so there is only one entrance to Sunset and Western Pines if you stay on the highway. The new highway gives us another entrance into the back of Western Pines, but even Western Pines residents are seeing two to three feet of water in their yards. There are some houses that are a lot of bungalow houses up here, so some houses, their beds are wet. The water is totally inside the houses, there is a lot of loss and stuff like that. We’ve never seen this level of flooding in the village before.”


According to Western Paradise Chairlady, Arlene Requeña, due to fear of property crimes, residents have not evacuated their flooded homes and are instead weathering the storm.


Arlene Requeña

Arlene Requeña

“Most people are bearing it out. Don’t want to leave their houses, afraid of what might happen—of thieves and so forth. Most people are going through it. They would maybe go to a neighbour, go to a friend or some people go to the city and just come back in and check on their houses. But most people are in their houses with that water.”


Belize Rural NEMO Coordinator Alpheus Gillett says that it is expected that the water will continue to recede over the next few weeks.


Alpheus Gillett

“We’ll start to see the water receding and that’s taking place at this time. So I would say sometime later this week, we will see water recede to the extent where families can go back to their homes, with the exception of Crooked Tree and May Pen which will stay much longer under water.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

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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