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Thirty communities and 3,000 families affected by Julia-related flooding; Belize River Valley, Crooked Tree next in firing line

Posted: Tuesday, October 11, 2022. 9:24 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) reports that as many as 30 communities and approximately three thousand families have been impacted, directly or indirectly, by flooding caused by rains associated with the passage of Hurricane Julia far to the south.

And tonight, with the Crooked Tree causeway, Double Run and Isabella Bank areas showing a significant rise in water levels, the word to farmers in the Belize River Valley and Crooked Tree areas is to move livestock and crops to a safe place. Move early!

In its latest advisory, NEMO reports that dozens of homes, vehicles, equipment, farms and crops were damaged and search and rescue operations saved 15 families.

A total of 11 shelters were opened, of which six remain open in the Cayo District with 104 persons sheltering.

Five bridges are closed with minor damages as well as the ferries at Xunantunich and Baking Pot; ten road networks are flooded out and the Belize Water Service system in San Ignacio Town has been impacted.

Rains caused eleven rivers and four creeks to reach flood stage. As of tonight, by NEMO’s assessment, the Macal River is receding, the Mopan River rose four inches in the last five hours due to flooding in Guatemala, the Sibun River is flooded, and the Rio Hondo is rising slowly. Roads that are closed are the Coastal Road, Bullet Tree-Santa Familia Road, Bullet Tree-Calla Creek Road, the Cristo Rey pump road, and Hopkins-Sittee Road.

NEMO’s national emergency operations center met this morning to review plans for anticipated flooding in the Belize Rural area. The Belize Rural Emergency Committee will be meeting tomorrow morning. A damage assessment flyover for western Belize will take place on Wednesday with representatives from the national damage assessment committee, the Government Press Office, and the ministries of Agriculture and Infrastructure Development and Housing.

Tonight, NEMO warns that “If you live near a river, creek, or low-lying area take the necessary actions to save your life. Check on the elderly and persons with disabilities. If you need to seek shelter, move early, do not wait until it’s too late. Move before nightfall. Before leaving home, secure your documents and your pets. If your home is likely to flood, before leaving, secure your home, unplug appliances, and turn off electricity, gas, and the main water valve.”

Additionally, avoid walking, playing in or driving through flood waters; as much as six inches of running water can knock you down and a foot can sweep your vehicle away. Avoid stomach illness from contaminated water by washing hands thoroughly before handling food and water and boiling or purifying water as necessary. As much as possible, use bottled water for drinking and preparing and cooking food. Store 1 gallon of water per day for each person in your home for drinking and cooking. Stay away from downed power lines and keep children and pets away from them as well. Always assume that it is live and do not touch it by hand or object, or touch any object or person in contact with a downed power line and avoid driving over one.

NEMO’s emergency hotline is 936. Stay alert, be prepared.

 

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