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Jun 4, 2008

Rivers rising in North as villagers prepare for flood

Story PictureRelief efforts gained momentum today in areas affected by Tropical Storm Arthur. Having traveled south yesterday, today News Five’s Ann-Marie Williams, accompanied by cameraman Chris Mangar, journeyed north. While the waters of the swollen Rio Hondo and its tributaries did not create any flash flooding, villagers are growing concerned as the rivers continue to rise.

Ann-Marie Williams
Thank you very much Marleni.

Marleni Cuellar
So Ann, where did you go today?

Ann-Marie Williams
Once again, our journey took us to three villages up north in Orange Walk. We went Douglas first followed by San Roman and San Antonio. The villages we visited, two of them, Douglas and San Roman, actually the waters are rising a bit. But the waters have receded and continue to recede in San Antonio. Now we have to remember that while these villages did not get the brunt of the flooding that occurred, the water that they are experiencing actually happens to be the runoff from neighbouring Mexico as a result of the tropical depression’s last storm. So today once again our odyssey took us to the north. Let’s look at some footage where we started off at Douglas Village. This is midmorning and this is where we are going into Douglas Village. The actually village is not under water yet. We are taking this boat, it is a Fisheries boat, manned by one Mr. Garcia from Fisheries, but it was for NEMO. This is actual football field in Douglas. It’s under more than three foot of water and this area is actually where we find some houses underwater. See how high the water is, actually went into the houses, into some of the windows. This is all Douglas Village, an area that is very prone to flooding. They had to chop out a channel here, these bushes, so the boat can go through and we continued to see the swollen waters and it was drizzling a bit, so we were in the boat, getting the sting from the rain and the breeze. That line there in the distance, I am not sure if you can see it, that white line there is where the flood waters is actually meeting the Rio Hondo. We are going on our way down to San Roman. We are still in the waters of the Rio Hondo and this will take us about fifteen minutes to reach there. This is actually landing in San Roman Village and of course our capable cameraman was right there, Chris Mangar. This is the chairlady of the village.

Maria Elena Gomez, Chairlady, San Roman Village
“We were fraid or nervous because we si di river is getting high and di problem with di students to go. Dehn reach at the schools and here I don’t know how they managed with the teachers because they will go right now. They only come until nine-thirty they open di school and they let out the school this afternoon.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“A lot of the teachers come from the town?”

Maria Elena Gomez
“Yes. That is the problem right now I don’t know how they managed to go and come. People need help because they don’t have how to go and work especially the farmers, they used to work. The cane farmers, they get their money over there.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“I heard that some of the shops were even short of supplies. How come?”

Maria Elena Gomez
“Yes, because they are waiting for the people to pay the shop to get groceries. How they will manage if they don’t have the money?”

Ann-Marie Williams
This is the bridge in San Roman. It was once a bigger bridge. It had some cracks and they removed the bridge, converted this temporary bridge into a footbridge by itself. These are some of the pictures from the flooding in San Roman. The village is very high, so the waters haven’t as yet gone up into the village, so it’s still in the lagoon area.

Marleni Cuellar
It hasn’t affected homes as yet.

Ann-Marie Williams
No. See the height where the water is and where the houses are in the village. We’re on our way now to go to San Roman now, but Ms. Gomez is promising that rations will come later for the villagers of San Roman, so we will meet that shortly. This is on our way going to Antonio, I beg your pardon. From San Roman Village to San Antonio is a mere six miles, but the journey took us all of thirty-five minutes because of the road conditions. This is actually in San Antonio now and we are about to speak to a retired teacher who has felt the brunt of the flooding.

Evangelisto Bobadilla, San Antonio Resident
“They take out everything from the garage; our machinery, our parts and all that because we work a little mechanic and we have a lot of parts around where we work our machineries and so. But before we already know how these things were so we started early. So we managed to take out take out almost everything. What we left is just over there and we can’t do anything. It’s too much. We saw the water rising very rapidly, very rapidly and so we decided to start moving. Luckily I have some friends over here and some workers that came to help me take out all my things over there and we had them dumped on the little hill over there, well a little plaza.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“So the waters are receding a bit?”

Evangelisto Bobadilla
“A bit, about tow inches, about two inches it went down but it had gone up very fast. In a days time it had reached from the river bank up to where you see it right now.”

Ann-Marie Williams
“Happy that you’re living in a high house?”

Evangelisto Bobadilla
“Fortunately, thank God.”

Ann-Marie Williams
This is the hurricane shelter in the village. Seven families had to be evacuated from San Antonio. Some stayed with family and friends. This is Jose Manuel Jones, he managed to save some of his household utensils and his appliances. He just had a baby.

Jose Manuel Jones, San Antonio Resident
“I pass here Sunday because it was a lot of rain and the area where I live is just one block off the river and I know what’s going on when flood is coming because it’s not my first experience with flooding. We got, like six years back, we got a big flood and that’s why we try to come and try save all my things because it cost to get your things back and have your thing again. It’s a lot of trouble, having kids and all of this and everything right now is expensive.”

Ann-Marie Williams
More of the flooding in San Antonio Village itself. The village has seen more water than this, according to Mr. Bobadilla, like about five years ago and during Hurricane Chantal. This area is a bridge and he said he actually saw this bridge actually covered with water on Friday, but the waters, as I told you earlier are receding a bit in San Antonio. These are shots of the village. We are about to after this to the rations.

These are men from San Roman. They are actually waiting for NEMO to bring the rations because they promised them at two o’clock. This is the boat, lo and behold. They are bringing the rations slowly coming in, loaded both with human beings and food. Mr. Clother is actually speaking to the chairlady, having her sign on to all the items he brought, all the food items. Now they are unloading from the boat and they will take it to the community centre where it will be distributed under Ms. Gomez’s supervision and Mr. Clother’s supervision. San Antonio is actually a village with about a hundred families, about five hundred and odd in population. The thing about this village is that a lot of the residents were marooned in the village because they cannot go anywhere unless they use a boat. We met the Red Cross boat actually going back to take some rations on our way coming out. We’ve landed back now. We are actually in Douglas and these students who are coming from Escuela Mexico were waiting for the only boat in the village to transport them to San Roman and San Antonio.

Marleni Cuellar
They are going to school.

Ann-Marie Williams
Yes. And they came from school today. As a matter of fact, school in San Antonio today actually opened and school in San Roman actually opened for the first time today.

Marleni Cuellar
Wow. And life returns back to normal for some of them? That’s what it makes it seems like when you go back to school.

Ann-Marie Williams
A bit of rebuilding is going on, but you know how it’s like, one boat for the whole community of five hundred people. It’s a bit of a stretch, but you know, they do the best they can in the circumstances. It could have been worse.

Marleni Cuellar
Yes, absolutely. I heard from both of the interviews from the villagers in San Antonio, they talk about how they experienced flood before, so they kinda knew what to expect and it almost seemed like Mr. Bobadilla was saying they expected the flood as well. Did you get that impression?

Ann-Marie Williams
Yeah, he expected because he said he listened to the radio as the rain started coming up Thursday. He saw the waters rising rapidly on Friday and he decided, let me move out all my things out of the mechanic shop because that’s his lifeblood you know.

Marleni Cuellar
So that is it from the north. Thanks once again Ann-Marie.


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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