September 10th activities in some areas of Belize were held under heavy rains due to a slow-moving weather system that hovered over the country.
In Belize City, weather conditions did not deteriorate until dusk when the rains came and then turned into almost a squall, dumping close to three inches of water over the old capital in only a few hours. By early Wednesday morning, some areas of the city resembled small creeks and ponds, while other areas that were flooded during the rain drained more quickly..
The trouble areas proved to be King Street, Western Avenue, Jane Usher Boulevard and Euphrates Avenue. Most of the reports were that the water had risen so high that people’s homes were becoming flooded and that the water had risen to right below their beds.
Residents had to make immediate plans to evacuate their living spaces for the night.
The downpour is something that the Belize Meteorological Service had predicted because of the system hovering over the country. But the City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO, did not foresee that it would affect s many areas so seriously, and there was no plan in place to activate a rescue or shelter plan.
By mid-afternoon, CEMO and its relevant partners in disaster management had already met and put in place a partial emergency plan, which included opening the Bishop Sylvestre Memorial Centre as a shelter for needy residents, implementing a quick response rescue team in the event there was flooding or other situation, and keeping round-the-clock operators to answer their hotline numbers.
The broad area of low pressure spread over the northwestern Caribbean and the centre of it hovered over the Belize and Orange Walk Districts.
The rain it dumped measured up to 2 1/2 inches in these areas. Responding to the crisis sitution for so many familiesi, CEMO has now formed an Emergency Response Team, which is a special unit with qualified persons who will be dispatched to areas needing help and who are capable of making on-the-spot decisions .and who will move in emergencies.
The Emergency Response Team alredy has vehicles allocated to it and is able to move into problem areas at a moment’s notice.