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Nov 4, 2022

Mass Cleanup Efforts Show Resiliency in the Wake of Hurricane Lisa

A massive cleanup campaign was launched earlier today in Belize City. In the wake of Hurricane Lisa, hundreds of persons including sanitation workers, Belize Defence Force soldiers and personnel from the Department of Environment, as well as the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing, and contractors came out with backhoes and trucks to pick up and cart away debris and fallen trees. The aggressive campaign will continue for three days and the hope is that by Sunday, majority of the fragments would have been removed. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.


Duane Moody, Reporting

From as early as six o’clock, hundreds of persons began gathering inside the parking lot of the Belize City Civic Center. Approximately three hundred and fifty Belize Defence Force soldiers joined members from the sanitation department from the Belize City Council and the Department of Environment, the National Fire Service and more to embark on a massive cleanup of the city that was hardest hit by Hurricane Lisa. That strong category one storm destroyed hundreds of homes and left trees, debris and sludge on almost all arteries of the city.


Aldo Cansino

Aldo Cansino, Environmental Officer, Department of Environment

“We did an assessment of ninety-three streets around Belize City, four different quadrants, my estimation just on those ninety-three streets which is just a small portion, we have about three hundred and fifteen truckloads of material and that’s just Belize City and most of it is debris, fallen trees. So a lot of these trees are big and yo have to cut it up, so it speaks to the size of the trees and the strength of the wind that was out here. So it is going to be a big effort.”


That’s only about one third of the city streets and it will take some time to clean up. But seeing the devastation to the municipality, the Belize City Council got into action and brought together all these stakeholders with one mission in mind – to rid the city streets of the wreckage caused by the natural disaster.


Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“A wide cross-section of stakeholders, both public and private sector, and we have been able to mobilize and get eighteen backhoes and twenty dump trucks as well as human resources. We want to deploy all these personnel across the entire city for the next three days so that we can really achieve the positive outcomes we are looking for in respect to cleaning up this city.”


The cleanup effort saw support coming from other municipalities which were not directly impacted by Hurricane Lisa. Orange Walk Mayor Ladrick Sheppard and his staff travelled to the city and will lend support for two of the three days of cleanup.


Ladrick Sheppard

Ladrick Sheppard, Mayor, Orange Walk Town

“I brought twenty-five employees that includes my manager and also one of my supervisors along with two councillors and myself. And we are out here to work. We are out here to do whatever they ask us to do. Wherever the mayor sends us to clean up, we are going to be out there in full force, getting this place back to where it once was.”


The Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing also chipped in and those companies that were awarded roadwork contracts were pulled in to assist with the heavy duty equipment to scoop up and cart away the rubble.


Evondale Moody

Evondale Moody, Engineering Coordinator, M.I.D.H.

“We know that there is a number of debris all over the city and so the ministry has embarked on this effort with the contractors that we have working in other parts of the country for them to bring in their equipment and to assist the city council as best as we can. This is all being done based on contributions from these contractors and I think it is very important for us to highlight that we have Cisco Construction, Teichroeb and Sons, Belize Roadway, A&N Construction, Imer Hernandez.”


Francisco Woods

Francisco Woods, Cisco Constructions

“We are just waiting on instructions on where to go. You don’t have to drive around too long to see the mess that we have. But we are grateful cause it could have been a lot worst. But we will have a team of volunteers probably for the next several days.”


While there were no fires to extinguish, personnel from the National Fire Service are also supporting to remove the sludge after the debris is taken off the streets.


Colin Gillett

Colin Gillett, Fire Chief, National Fire Service

“Since yesterday we have been assisting the municipal airstrip, spraying that off – we had a lot of mud – so that the planes can land and people could come back in. We have some crews cleaning the streets; we are also doing some street cleaning on north side which is what we are here today for. So when the B.D.F. removes the large pieces we are going to go behind and spray it off so that the streets are clean as soon as possible.”


Belize City, which was most affected by the storm, has the highest concentration of people. The recovery process will take time, but the efforts today show that the community is ready rebuild, however they can. Public Service Minister Henry Charles Usher said it best:


Henry Charles Usher

Henry Charles Usher, Minister of Public Service

“We are strong, we are resilient. And yes we took a beating. There are certain areas of the city really got some physical damage, but the people are coming together, we are working together and as you can see the massive effort from the B.D.F., from the private sector and other municipalities coming in to assist in the cleanup efforts. It’s a multi-prong effort as you can see. We have the cleanup effort going on, we have the food assistance happening today as we speak and we also have the effort in trying to get these persons immediate relief in terms of zinc and plywood and mattress and tarps to cover up where they might have holes and so on.”


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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