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Nov 3, 1998

Crooked Tree cut off by flood waters

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While the nation’s attention has been drawn this week to the damage at our cayes, some villagers inland may be feeling like they live on a caye right now, courtesy of Hurricane Mitch. As I found out today, the residents of Crooked Tree, used to some periodic high waters from their lagoon are facing something they are certainly not used to, and something which could affect their growing tourist trade.

For the past three days, residents of Crooked Tree Village have had more water than they can handle. The village, now officially an island, has been isolated by the flooding of the causeway and villagers living along the lagoon have been forced to move out.

Rudolph Crawford, Chairman, Crooked Tree Village

“Because of the flood waters most of the people living right in front of the lake will have to move out. There is some houses already surrounded by water, so the people who live in those houses will have to move to higher grounds.”

Q: “Do you expect the water to get any higher?”

Rudolph Crawford

“Well from what I noticed yesterday from my farm, I come through the Spanish Creek and the current that we see coming down from there, definitely we know that the water is going to come much higher.”

So far only two families have been evacuated with eight more left to move from along the lagoon. One person who has remained along the bank is Claudette Adolphus. Adolphus, who can now only leave her home by traveling in a dory, says although it has been bad, she will continue to monitor the situation before moving further inland.

Claudette Adolphus, Resident

“It started about two days ago, the flood, but it is the first time that I see it get so high. Cause usually it come to the fence right there. First time I see it get so high.”

Q: “You live right along the lagoon, so how has this affected you?”

Claudette Adolphus

“Very bad, in all kinds of ways, because I can’t get out to go, I can’t walk the way I want, can’t go to shop, you know.”

But it is not only the villagers who are being inconvenienced. Rudolph Crawford, the village chairman, says they also expect tourism in the village to be affected as most of the popular resorts like Crooked Tree Nature Resort, Paradise Inn and Birds Eye View are already surrounded by water.

Jacqueline Woods

“Getting into Crooked Tree Village is just as impossible. Presently the road is under three feet of water making it difficult for residents to get home.”

Villagers arriving on buses have had to board boats about a mile and a half away to get to the village. Crawford says while he expects there will be some damage to homes and the farms along the lagoon, the village council will wait until the waters have receded before asking for any kind of assistance.

Rudolph Crawford

“I think we will have to assess some of the damages first because in any disaster you have to actually inspect it before you can ask for assistance. And this is one thing that I would like to make clear because there is a rumor in the village saying that the village council chairman should have gone down to Belize to pick up some sort of ration or something. But I knew for a fact that that would have to be after the disaster then when we assessed all the people who were affected then we would ask government or whoever for assistance.”

Until that time, the residents of Belize’s version of Venice will have to remain patient and keep their boats and boots at the ready.

We certainly hope there are no more inland islands out there, but if there are, we hope they are coping as well as the people of Crooked Tree.

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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