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Jun 1, 2012

Cristo Rey villagers dependent on truck for water

In the west, a community has been without potable water for well over a month. The water pump has been out of commission for six weeks now and the villagers of Cristo Rey have been coping by resorting to the Macal River. The village chairman is not giving any comfort to the seven hundred plus villagers and there is no indication of when the running water will become available again. News Five’s Andrea Polanco files this report.


Andrea Polanco, Reporting

For over six weeks, the Cristo Rey residents haven’t had potable water running through their pipes and pumps.  Gallons, drums, and buckets are stock piled in most yards to get water from the river. Villagers like Nadine Jones who has a vehicle, uses that to transport water for daily usage. But even so, she says it’s inconvenient.


Nadine Jones

Nadine Jones, Resident, Cristo Rey

“Oh yes, aha, because everything you know, just run to the pipe and there is water and everything fuh wash, bathe and cook; suh you know right now we don’t have that facility.”


Andrea Polanco

“So for you to wash, they have to haul the water for you?”


Nadine Jones, Resident, Cristo Rey

“Aha yes, my husband goes to the river and get some water for us to wash.”


And for senior citizen, Dana Lain, the lack of water is even harder on her.


Dana Lain, Resident, Cristo Rey

“It’s been very hard for me because I don’t have any helpers and I have a damaged neck and back and my knee needs replacement so I can only carry a gallon at a time. All my systems; I have several backup systems but each one requires me to personally carry water into the house and that has been very hard on me.”


And then there are villagers who must make do with water from the Macal River. On a regular day, many families would be washing, bathing and swimming in the river; a water source that has high levels of mercury. In recent weeks, a number of illnesses has been reported:


Cynthia Espat

Cynthia Espat, Resident, Cristo Rey

“Well right now we go to the river and wash like how we have our car we could bring water from the river and full. Right now  this week I went to the river and right now, all my body itch from my leg, everything. Right now I buy just crystal water for my baby to drink because I don’t want mek she drink the dirty water from the river.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, do you know of other people who are getting sick in the village, other babies, etc?”


Cynthia Espat

“Yes, my friend she have her baby right now that she ker to the hospital and the baby pass like grasses in his poo and the doctor tell her maybe it’s the water from the river and well in Cristo Rey, I heard that a man who has his daughter, they find an infection in her belly and right now she is at Flores.”


Andrea Polanco

“Now, do you know if there are other people who are still drinking water from the river?”


Cynthia Espat

“Yes, they drink a lot of water from the river, like those people who can’t afford to buy crystal water. The other day there was a cow dead in the river and like that they drink the water.”


The village is normally supplied by this reservoir, which is located about five miles away from the center of the village. But according to Giovanni Montolban, Chairman of Cristo Rey, the pump in the village square has malfunctioned:


Giovanni Montolban, Chairman of Cristo Rey

“The situation back there in Cristo Rey is that the pump got burned and we informed Rural Development as who are the persons in charge of Water Boards and I informed Mr. Hilly Lopez, so we have good communication with them. They lent us a seven point five but it didn’t because our pump is a fifteen horse power so we tried that for a few days and it pumped water to the tank but didn’t satisfy the village.”


Dana Lain

That pump later failed as well. But it has been over a month, and the villagers haven’t received an official word from the Water Board nor Village Council.


Dana Lain

“There is a lot of rumor and that’s one of the problems; is that there hasn’t been a meeting to tell everyone all at one time, what the story is. So the rumor says two weeks ago, it would be here in two weeks; a week ago, it would be two weeks, now I guess it is still two weeks.”


Andrea Polanco

“Do you believe that you guys haven’t dealt with that end of it as properly as you would’ve wanted?”


Giovanni Montolban

Giovanni Montolban

“Well, officially yes, no meeting has been conducted in the village and I agree with that. I believe that I will speak with the Chairman of the Water Board because I am assisting him at the moment because he has already take a lot.”


So when exactly will the water be restored in the village? Montolban says they have put in an order for a new one; in the interim they are now using a water truck to supply drinking water; the only problem is, the truck is unable to supply the village every day and it has to wet roads:


Giovanni Montolban

“The notice is that we haven’t get a pump at the moment but we have already get contacts from outside from the U.S that we have somebody up here that have already located a pump for us.”


Andrea Polanco

“At this time, there is no specific date when this pump is arriving in Cristo Rey?”


Giovanni Montolban

“Not yet because I haven’t reach to the person and get details when it will be shipped. They said they will tell us when it will be shipped and it will arrive on the same day. At the moment we are trying to help the people with water truck so that they can get some water daily but sometimes not daily; we can’t satisfy the village in one day, to satisfy the village, it takes like three days. I would like to say to the village that they really have to be minding their water now because I have already been told that the truck has to wet roads.”


Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.


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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6 Responses for “Cristo Rey villagers dependent on truck for water”

  1. Storm says:

    This situation is intolerable — it’s an epidemic waiting to happen.

    Here’s a novel idea — GOB should set aside a “rainy day fund” to deal with little emergencies like this that threaten the health of Belizeans.

    How much does a water pump cost? It’s embarrassing for our government at all levels to be so pathetically impotent.

  2. Run Rod says:

    This useless gov. Doesn’t care about you they are all off spending your tax dollars on themselves and their families while you don’t even have water to drink march people march.

  3. whyaminotsurprised says:

    weh montero deh ???? dun forget poor people. mussi cause cristo rey drop ah election day… montalban da wah clown. the water truck go da his house dats y he cant supply di village.

  4. winsom winsom says:

    Over three weeks ago the chairman of the water board told us that they had a pump from a group in the USA… The chairman of the village told Love Fm Patrick E. Jones around four days ago that they had got a pump in the USA and it would take two weeks to get here ….. Now the chairman of the village yesterday is saying to Channel 5 that they have just located a pump and it would be shipped next day …. He and Rural development needs to get the story straight…that is why we have not had a meeting…… WHAT SHOULD THE VILLAGERS BELIEVE

  5. marco says:

    Based on statistics did you know that only 32 percent of the villager connected to the water system in Cristo Rey pay for the water service? The others are not paying and these are the ones that complain and have contributed to the water board not having funds to purchase a pump. This is not said, it is sad to know that our people have become so dependent on external aid that we cannot stand on our own two feet. If the remaining 68 percent would pay their water, the board would have the funds to buy two pumps not only one.

  6. nuh andastand says:

    “So when exactly will the water be restored in the village? Montolban says they have put in an order for a new one; in the interim they are now using a water truck to supply drinking water; the only problem is, the truck is unable to supply the village every day and it has to wet roads”

    WET ROADS?? this da rainy seaon mi bredda, nature do dat pan e own.

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