Belize - Hurricane Keith Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2000

Report
from US Agency for International Development
Published on 03 Oct 2000


Numbers Affected

The total number of people affected by the storm is not known at this time.

Current Situation

Hurricane Keith has weakened to a tropical depression. The National Hurricane Center reported as of 1000 hours (EST) this morning that the center of the tropical depression was located inland over the Yucatan Peninsula about 55 miles west of Chetumal, Mexico.

The depression is moving toward the west-northwest, and this motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours.

Maximum sustained winds are near 35 mph with higher gusts. Little change in strength is forecast during the next 24 hours.

As of 1000 hours (EST) this morning, all watches and warnings for the coasts of Central America were discontinued.

Heavy rains are currently affecting portions of the Yucatan Peninsula, Belize, and Northern Guatemala. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. Recent ham radio reports indicate that more than 22 inches of rain have fallen to the west of Belize City since Saturday, September 30. Additional rainfall accumulations resulting from Keith could exceed 10 to 15 inches.

Damage in Belize is reported to be concentrated in the northernmost islands and the northern tip of the mainland, particularly in San Pedro, a tourist resort on Ambergris Caye off the coast, and Caye Caulker, a tiny island 19 miles east of Belize City.

Structural damage from wind and water is said to be extensive.

Evacuations are underway in the northern part of the country. The population of Belize City was also advised to evacuate to the capital city of Belmopan.

No deaths have been reported in Belize yet.

U.S. Government Response

A five-member component of a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) from USAID/BHR/OFDA’s Regional Office in Costa Rica deployed to Belize today, October 3, arriving at Belize City’s airport, via a chartered light aircraft, at 1300 hours (EST).

A second component of the DART consisting of five Miami Dade Fire and Rescue Personnel, a USAID Press Officer, and a USAID/Washington Operations Coordinator plan to deploy from Miami to Belize early tomorrow morning, October 4.

A pre-packaged module of relief commodities, including blankets, plastic sheeting, water jugs, and a health kit designed to assist 1,000 individuals, will be deployed with the team from Miami.

Relief Efforts

The Belize Red Cross Society is working closely with the Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) who have the lead in national disaster response.

Background

After a long holding pattern off shore, Hurricane Keith made landfall over southeastern Mexico and northeastern Belize on the morning of October 1.

The U.S. Ambassador to Belize declared a disaster in response to the hurricane on October 2.

Both sea and air transport from islands from the mainland stopped at 1400 hours (EST) on Saturday, September 30. Telephone and internet communications were interrupted mid-day, Sunday, October 1.