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Jun 2, 2008

Barrow briefs press; organises relief effort

Story PictureAt two o’clock this afternoon Prime Minister Dean Barrow received a briefing from the National Emergency Management Organisation in Belmopan. Following that briefing he addressed the press.

Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“This is a national emergency. This is a national disaster. We, first of all, express condolences to those families that have lost loved ones, to those that have seen lives lost. That is the most naturally unfortunate aspect of this tragedy that has unfolded and that is unfolding. What we’re concentrating on now is the relief effort to ensure that people are given relief supplies, the immediate relief supplies that are needed as quickly and as effectively and as comprehensibly as possible. Colonel Lovell had said that there are three confirmed losses … two confirmed lives lost and there are five other persons reported missing but there’s no confirmation that those people are dead. In terms of people that were stranded on rooftops and that sort of thing, that situation is under control. Waters in those areas have receded to the point where those people are not in any danger. We do have a fear that because the Met Office now tell us that the rains are likely to continue for another day or two, that there could be a resurgence of the flood waters to the level that we saw last night and early this morning. There are people who, as the waters have been receding, have been telling us that they simply are not going to leave their homes and their villages. Boats are actually stationed in Galespoint, in Mullins River and in Sittee so that we have the situation being constantly monitored and if it appears that there will be resurgence, we will press these people again to evacuate and we will have the means for the evacuation. So there are no immediate dangers in terms of people being marooned, people being stranded, people being in danger of drowning.”

As we may have mentioned earlier, our information as of this evening is that there are four confirmed fatalities and one person remains missing. Following his press briefing Barrow and other officials toured affected areas by helicopter.

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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