Belize: Hurricane Eta - DREF Operation Final Report (n° MDRBZ006)

Situation Report
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Description of the disaster

Hurricane Eta made landfall on Nicaragua’s shores as a strong Category 4 hurricane on November 4, 2020, causing destruction and excessive rain with a wind speed of 140 mph. Several Central American countries experienced the negative effects of Hurricane Eta, including Belize.

The rains started in Belize on November 3, 2020, increasing in intensity over the 4th and 5th of November. The impact on Belize was approximately twenty inches of rainfall, causing severe flooding in the Western District of Cayo and Belize District, including Belize City. More than 40 communities were affected, mainly along the Mopan, Macal, Belize, and Sibun rivers. The Macal and Mopan rivers rose more than 8.8 meters in the Cayo District, inundating every village from Arenal to Roaring Creek. On November 3, 2020, Collective Centers were activated to facilitate persons living in swampy and low-lying areas. According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMO), 60,000 people living along the impacted areas have been affected, while some 5,000 persons were directly impacted.

The floods caused damage to residential property, utilities, farms, and road infrastructure and further added to the vulnerabilities due to COVID-19, which has had a strong effect on the tourism industry, leaving many families with limited income.

On 16 November, Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua, which brought additional rain to Belize and exacerbated the floods in many areas.

The hardest-hit communities were Arenal, Benque, Calla Creek, Bullet Tree Falls, Valley of Peace, Santa Familia, Blackman Eddy, Roaring Creek, La Rivera, Bomba, Maskall, Crooked Tree, May Pen, Rancho Dolores, Freetown Sibun, and Lemonal.