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Oct 11, 2022

Rising Water Levels in Cayo District

There was a daring rescue earlier today along the Coastal Road where a vehicle driver whose delivery truck was inundated by floodwater had to be saved from the raging current.  It was a successful effort at saving the life of one individual.  But tonight, other parts of the country remain submerged as flood waters are gradually receding in the west.  On Monday, the water level of the Mopan and Macal rivers rose by several feet. Businesses were flooded out and several areas across the Cayo District and downtown San Ignacio were inundated. There was quick response by the National Emergency Management Organization to rescue persons who were trapped in certain communities and several shelters were opened. News Five’s Duane Moody reports from western Belize.


Duane Moody, Reporting

There was an air of despair on Monday as water levels in the Mopan and Macal Rivers rose quickly to submerge areas in downtown San Ignacio/Santa Elena and surrounding villages.  Main roads were impassable and some communities were cut off from the rest of the country. Several families were displaced and businesses relocated. As early as Sunday night, the Emergency Operation Center was activated and waves of distress calls came rushing in from various villages.


Javier Castellanos

Javier Castellanos, Interim Regional Coordinator, NEMO Central

“Our areas of concern so far, Benque has been lots of rain. The Mopan River, Succotz rising with a view that we had to re-strategize because Benque might be isolated from the area where Succotz is. So we are concentrating on Succotz, we are concentrating on Calla Creek also and then we have all the other communities, low-lying areas. Low-lying bridge has been closed off to vehicular traffic, Iguana Creek Bridge closed off. We have closed off Calla Creek because it is unsafe, the hammock bridge, so we know that for that limited movements and restrictions. So as we said earlier, we need to re-strategise, reposition our assets, our resources and personnel.”


Between Sunday night and Monday morning or less than twelve hours, up to twenty families had to be evacuated from their homes – some were taken to shelters, while others stayed with relatives.


Javier Habet

Javier Habet, Cayo District Coordinator, NEMO

“We have evacuated some people from the Calla Creek area; that was a major flood and we moved them to our shelters in Succotz. Also we have evacuated a few families from Benque Viejo in the flood prone area, the area that we call the free zone area and they have moved to the shelter in Mopan High School.”


The water rose as far as Bismillah Store and past the football field near the Macal River Park.


Earl Trapp, Mayor, San Ignacio/Santa Elena

“For those that are acquainted with San Ignacio, the water level came all the way to Bismillah Store by the pedestrian ramp. It’s basically around the perimeter of the welcome center at the back. So it came all the way there, filled up the parking area for the welcome center. All that was inundated. So it’s from there coming all the way along the backside of the Venus Hotel and the other establishments along that path up to Bismillah Store.”


Mayor Earl Trapp says that the issue is compounded by the improper disposal of garbage by residents.


Earl Trapp

Earl Trapp

“Many people are not disposing of their garbage properly. They leave it rolling around and whenever we have torrential rains and the water comes down, it flushes everything into the drain and then it clogs up the drain and then it causes water to back up. So people will have to do their part to begin to dispose of their garbage properly. But yes, it is affecting many.”


Fortunately, the water is now receding, but Mayor Trapp says this will take some time.


Earl Trapp

“We had a lot of debris that came down so the guys were out cleaning those. We have the crews out in trying to deal with the areas that were affected in terms of where it was flooding, what caused the flooding in terms of debris. They are clearing up the culvert heads. At this moment, they are washing down the welcome center using our truck and the fire engine is out there supporting us as well. And the different establishments are being restored in terms of cleaning and bringing back the equipment to their business to restart the new business day.”


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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