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Sep 26, 2022

No Heavy Rains, but Belama Phase 3 is Still Under Water

Flooding in Belama Phase Three has been a perennial issue for residents and business owners in that community.  While it hasn’t been raining incessantly, the area is still submerged and getting in and out of the neighborhood is quite a challenge for commuters.  Tonight, we look at the crisis that residents are faced with along Apollo Street and the monies and resources that have been pumped into addressing the problem.  News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.


Isani Cayetano, Reporting

It hasn’t been raining much over the past few days, yet Belama Phase 3 is once again under several feet of water. For motorists, traversing this stretch of Apollo Street is a formidable task.  When it gets like this, most pedestrians who live in the far reaches of the neighborhood don’t even consider walking along the sunken carriage way.


Albert Vaughn

Albert Vaughn, Councilor, Belize City Council

“I drove through the Belama area this morning and I saw, without rain, because normally when it rains you know automatically we have water level coming up.  But this morning, we have the area flooded and so I was wondering where this water is coming from.”


This section of the expanded community is adjacent to Haulover Creek.  It is also very close to the Caribbean Sea.  Residents say that flooding is caused by the ebb and flow of water due to the cyclic rise and fall of the nearby sea.


Marton Hyde

Marton Hyde, Resident, Belama Phase 3

“I live up ya for like over twelve years and growing up from up ya [da] di same thing.  Nothing change.  Only thing change da di lee pavement pan di street, but besides that, nothing else.”


This is Rose Bodden’s property on Superintendent Arthurs Street.  She was the first to develop this area of Belama many years ago.  Two hundred loads of material later, the retired educator is still dumping and filling the submerged area below her house.  The foundation below the concrete structure is compromised and, despite previous attempts to pump out the water, Bodden has resorted to packing the cavity with clay.


Rose Bodden

Rose Bodden, Resident, Belama Phase 3

“I am trying to get the down part, downstairs of my house, to be filled and I am having a problem with that.  What happened [is that] we dump the sand over here and then a person I get to go into the basement to fill it.  But apart from that, every morning when we get up we have to go into this water, plus I have my two grandchildren, they have to be walking in the water and take them to school.  But the big problem here is that when it rains, back here gets flooded and now when two high tides meet, the water flows into the other one and so sometimes the water is two or three feet.”


According to Albert Vaughn, the municipal and central governments have worked together in the past to address the situation.  He is a resident, a city councilor, as well as the People’s United Party chairperson for the Freetown constituency.  Over the years, loads of money and tons of material have been dumped here, to no avail.


Isani Cayetano

“A lot of monies have been invested in trying to rectify this issue of the low-lying areas within Belama Phase 3, none has proven worthwhile at this point.  What else can be done?”


Albert Vaughn

“Yeah, I am glad you mentioned that because then we have to go back to the Flood Mitigation Project, that’s what the project was about, to get the water out of Belama Phase 3.  That hasn’t worked and you are right, the city council has put in a lot of money, even the Ministry of Infrastructure Development has helped us to raise that street and it keeps sinking.  Noh care what we do, it keeps sinking.”


…and so are many properties within the vicinity, including Bodden’s.  She says that numerous efforts have been made to contact the area representative.  Those calls have reportedly fallen on deaf ears.


Rose Bodden

“Whenever it gets low, I would call and ask for help but nobody assists me, my area representative, Mr. Albert Vaughn who is in this area, to check.  They said after the twenty-first, I waited, I [sent] text, nobody comes to assist me and I am getting tired because if you don’t pay your property tax they’ll want to take you to court, you have to be paying and nobody’s here to assist us.”


Beyond the structural and transportation issues, overflow of water also poses serious health concerns, particularly for residents who have no other means of getting in and out of their homes.


Marton Hyde

“Da noh really something weh good fi walk through di water because di wata mix with septic and dehn thing deh, urine, waste, yoh undastand and that cause infection, that cause sickness and again, ih put we eena cost.”


Councilor Vaughn says that perhaps it’s time for engineers at the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing to step in and lend their expertise to address the perennial issue of flooding in Belama Phase 3.


Albert Vaughn

“They will have to find a way for people to get in and get out besides using Apollo Street.  Maybe we have to go back to the IDB project where they were building that bridge from Albert Hoy Street to Green Street or maybe we need to find some kind of entrance off of the Philip Goldson Highway to Belama.  But it’s terrible and it’s a lot of money.  I know the city council has put almost two million dollars already on that street alone.  So yeah, it’s something for the technocrats to come in now and figure a way how we could get that area solved.”


Isani Cayetano 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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