Belize - Hurricane Keith OCHA Situation Report No. 5

Report
from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 04 Oct 2000
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2000/0191
OCHA Situation Report No. 5
Belize - Hurricane "Keith"
4 October 2000

1. According to the National Weather Centre in Miami, "Keith" is a now a tropical depression after passing through northwestern Belize. The depression is moving west-northwest toward the west coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Belize

Situation

2. According to the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in El Salvador (responsible for programme matters in Belize), some rain continues to fall in the northwestern part of the country and floodwaters are rising along riverbanks from the central and northern inland areas to the coast. Several villages are under water in the Corozal District. Flash floods warnings have been issued for populations along several rivers in Cayo, Belize, Orange Walk and Corozal.

3. Three of the six Districts of Belize (Corozal, Orange Walk and Belize) as well as the hardest hit islands of San Pedro and Caye Caulker have been declared disaster areas. A curfew has been declared for Belize City, Caye Caulker and San Pedro, and the state of emergency continues for the entire nation.

4. Search and rescue operations are being carried out in the affected areas, but no official figures on people affected have been provided so far. Two persons have been found dead in San Pedro and several people are reported missing.

5. Damage is still being assessed by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). However, preliminary findings indicate:

  • Road and bridge network - The two major highways, the northern and western highways, are impassable except for very high trucks. The Roaring Creek Bridge that connects Belmopan to the rest of the Cayo district and the Guatemalan border is completely covered by water (water rose over 30 feet in two days) and closed to all traffic.
  • Airports - The International Airport runway is flooded and the airport remains closed to all aircraft except for very light airplanes.
  • Utilities - Electric power is still out in Caye Caulker, San Pedro, parts of Belize City, Ladyville and other villages in the Belize district. Telephone and water services are unavailable in some of these areas.
  • Health services - According to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), the Belize City Hospital, which has its generator on the first floor, is reported to be flooded. The situation of other health centres is not yet known.
National response

6. Yesterday, the Prime Minister led an immediate rapid assessment tour by helicopter in the various affected areas. People are generously donating food, clothing and money.

7. Clean-up operations are taking place in all affected areas.

8. The Belize Red Cross volunteers are distributing food and other relief supplies to the population in the shelters as well as providing first aid services and evacuating people to higher and safer ground.

Further information on this emergency can be found on NEMO's web page: http://www.nemo.org.bz

Request for International Assistance

9. The Government has officially made a general request to the United Nations System for assistance. A detailed request from the Government with assessed needs is foreseen. However, a preliminary report provided by NEMO indicate that the priority needs are: food, roofing, shelter, clean water and blankets.

International assistance

10. On 3 October 2000, the UN Disaster Management Team (PAHO/WHO/, UNDP, UNICEF, UN Volunteers), led by PAHO/WHO, attended, together with the British High Commissioner and the representative of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), an information meeting held by NEMO's Foreign Assistance Committee. During the meeting, they were briefed on the current situation, the relief operations underway and the offers of assistance being made to the Government.

- Support to assess requirements and to manage relief supplies

11. PAHO/WHO and CDERA's (Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency) rapid assessment teams; World Food Programme (WFP) assisting with the assessment of food needs; a five-member component of a Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) from USAID/OFDA's Regional Office in Costa Rica; a five-member Regional Intervention Team of IFRC to assist the Belize Red Cross in assessment missions in the north and central regions; a SUMA trainer will be deployed from Barbados to help set up management of international relief supplies.

12. A list of cash and in kind contributions reported to OCHA, as of 4 October 2000, is attached to the present situation report.

13. OCHA is prepared to serve as channel for cash contributions to be used for immediate relief assistance, in coordination/consultation with relevant organizations in the United Nations system. Funds should be transferred to OCHA account No. CO-590.160.0, Swift code: UBSWCHZ12A at the UBS AG, P.O. Box 2770, CH-1211 Geneva 2, with reference: OCHA - Belize - Hurricane "Keith". OCHA provides donors with written confirmation and pertinent details concerning the utilization of the funds contributed.

14. For coordination purposes, donors are requested to inform OCHA Geneva, as indicated below, on relief missions/pledges/contributions and their corresponding values by item.

15. Any future updates on contributions to this disaster may be found by clicking on Financial Tracking at the top of the page for this disaster on the OCHA Internet Website (http://www.reliefweb.int). Donors are requested to verify this table and inform OCHA Geneva of corrections/additions/values. Donors are encouraged to notify OCHA Geneva of their contributions to this disaster using the OCHA Standardized Contributions Recording Format, available electronically in the above mentioned Financial Tracking Website.

16. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at http://www.reliefweb.int

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23
E-mail: ochagva@un.org
In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers: Mr. E. Haegglund / Mr. C. Monteiro-Pereira / Ms. M. Kondo
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 32 99 / 13 83 / 19 97

Press contact: (in GVA) Mr. Donato Kiniger-Passigli, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.