In the South, mass flooding has forced evacuations in a number of areas. Our Dangriga Correspondent Harry Arzu visited Chairperson in the National Emergency Management Organization, Mayor Gilbert Swaso and filed this report.
Harry Arzu – Dangriga Correspondent:
Flood-waters continue to affect residents here in this municipality and other surrounding communities as the result of the heavy rains produced by Tropical Depression Number Two. A number of yards and streets are under water, and household items of a number of houses got affected as a consequence. Mayor Gilbert Swazo, who is the Chairperson for the National Emergency Management Organization held a meeting with his team earlier today. He tells us more.
Gilbert Swazo – Mayor of Dangriga:
The Stann Creek District Emergency Committee Management Team met earlier, with a view to get an update of the current situation as a consequence of the impacts of Tropical Depression Number Two, also to confirm the state of readiness and preparedness with a view to respond to any emergency that is within the area. The EUC is activated and is poised to respond to any serious but critical risk to any of the communities, villages, within the Stann Creek District.
At the current moment two shelters are open, one in Sarawee, one in the Hope Creek Village. A total of 59 people are within those shelters. That also includes the Shelter managers. There’s one shelter in Dangriga, the Parish Hall, which is now being prepared for evacuees from Mullins River. The Belize National Coast Guard members are currently in Mullins River with a view to evacuate 49 people and bring them to Dangriga, as earlier indicated, for them to be sheltered in Parish Hall.
There’s one bridge that is compromised, which is the Mullins River Bridge. As a consequence to that the Coastal Road is currently closed to all vehicular traffic. One culvert on the Southern Highway, just South of the Georgetown Junction, is also compromised. However currently Member of the Ministry of Works are working diligently, with a view to regularize that situation and bring it back to normal, and as such there will be some delays till that culvert is repaired, then normal vehicular traffic will continue on the Southern Highway. Other areas that are under water, there is just in the vicinity of Sarawee. There is about six inches of water across the road. There is up to twelve inches or above of flood water across the Stann Creek District Valley Road, just at the junction of Hope Creek and Coastal Road. The Coastal Road is also closed for vehicular traffic. There is also flooding between Hopkins and Sittee Road, Sittee River Village, on the Hopkins to Sitee River Road. Again, that road is also closed for vehicular traffic.
There was also reports of some fishermen who were stranded. The Belize Defense Force Boating Section are now here in Dangriga, and will be shortly deployed to go and support those fishermen who are Stranded in the Cays.
There’s also flooding in Dangriga, as a result of the North Stann Creek River overflowing its bank. There’s flooding in the Lakewood area, and especially in the New Site One and Two areas. All the people within the impacted areas, however we have to wait until the water recedes, because we don’t want to put anyone at risk.
So I would want again to advise everyone to remain calm and patient. We are ready to support. We are prepared lend the support from NEMO, here in the Stann Creek District, without creating any risks to our responders. So essentially we also want to take this opportunity to warn people that because of the flood waters, ensure that you don’t go into any water unnecessarily, because of the associated risk. So let us be prepared. Let us support the Emergency Response System, with a view to minimize any negative impact as a result of this Tropical Storm.
Harry Arzu – Dangriga Correspondent:
Dangriga has a population of about twelve thousand people.