By Marion Ali, Staff Reporter
The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has issued an advisory that the potential for flooding is increasing, mainly in communities like Blue Creek and along the Mopan, Macal, Belize, North Stann Creek, Bladden, Rio Grande, and Moho Rivers.
NEMO informs that flooded rivers and creeks in the south continue to rise. The Bladden River is 12 feet above normal; the Temash is nine feet above normal; the Aguacate Bridge is six fee under water; the Blue Creek Bridge is 11 feet under water and the road is closed; and the Jordan River is 11 feet above normal.
The NEMO Toledo Committee has also opened shelters for people in the Bella Vista, Cow Pen, Monkey River, Golden Stream and Blue Creek comminities whose homes have come under threat of flooding or have already suffered flood damage.
According to NEMO, the Ministry of Works (MoW) is addressing road problems in the Marcus Canul area in Orange Walk, Santa Elena-Cayo, the Coastal Road, and in St. Margaret’s, Cow Pen, and Bella Vista communities.
The Stann Creek and Toledo Districts Emergency Committees have also been activated and are responding to people’s needs sparked by flooding. Rescue personnel from the Belze Defense Force (BDF) and BASAR are deployed to assist the affected communities.
Meanwhile, some communities have already been rendered inaccessible by road. These include: Gracie Rock and Spanish Lookout by way of the Baking Pot Ferry and Iguana Creek Bridge (Spanish Lookout is only accessible through the Bullet Tree Road). The Succothz Ferry is also closed. Hopkins Sittee River road is impassable to small vehicles, Cow Pen diversion road being prepared by MoW. Road access to Blue Creek, Aguacate and other communities is cut off.
Other flood prone areas of concern are Corozal Town; Sarteneja; Orange Walk; villages along the old northern highway; Belize City; the coastal highway; Gales Point; Mullins River; Sarawee, Hope Creek and Dangriga.
The Belize Coast Guard is on standby to ferry people between Sarteneja and Corozal Town.
People in flood-prone areas are advised to take the necessary precaution to protect life and property, move to higher grounds with family or friends or to a community shelter, place important items high above areas likely to flood, reach out to family members and neighbours in need of assistance and keep the authorities informed of your situation. NEMO advises to move before it is too late.
NEMO also publishes the contact details of its Emergency Coordinators in the various areas as follows: Corozal, Williard Levy – 668 9515; Orange Walk, Suliema Celiz – 605 5046, Northern Regional Coordinator, Elodio Aragon Sr. – 636 6094; Belize District, Calbert Budd – 602 8632 and Kevin Pollard – 621 2275; San Pedro, Timrose Augustine – 600 8672; Belmopan, Clare Moody – 630 9791; Cayo, Al Westby – 630 3224; Stann Creek, Victor Castillo – 630 9780; and Toledo, Kenton Parham – 630 9787. The NEMO Emergency Hotline is 936.
Drivers are also urged to exercise caution, and to use their hazard lights when driving through rain. Particularly, people are advised to pay attention to the approaches of Deep River and Golden Stream in soutgern Belize as more rains are expected thoroughout the day and tonight.
NEMO suggests that people pay close attention to the National Meteorological Service weather reports and NEMO advisories.
NEMO asks its supporting agencies to remain alert over the weekend as NEMO continues to respond to localized flooding.