Hurricane Keith: USAID to Deploy 'GO Team' to Belize

from US Agency for International Development
Published on 02 Oct 2000
(202) 712-4320

Contact: Chris Madison

Washington, D.C. - The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) will send a Ground Operations (GO) Team to Belize Tuesday, October 3 in response to Hurricane Keith. The team will depart from Homestead Air Reserve Base in Miami, FL and arrive in Belize City as soon as local airports re-open.

Initial damage reports specify heavy structural damage due to wind and water in the northern district of Corozal, and the islands off Belize, especially Ambergis Caye and Caye Caulker. Sea and air transportation between the islands and Belize have been stopped, the international airport at Belize City is closed, and roads have been blocked by falling trees and power lines.

The 12-member GO Team, comprised of USAID disaster response specialists and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue personnel, is designed to deploy disaster response personnel quickly, along with pre-packaged modules of relief commodities.

Hurricane Keith made landfall over southeastern Mexico and northeastern Belize on the morning of October 1 with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph. Hurricane Keith is nearly stationary and located approximately 45 miles east of Belize City and 70 miles south-southeast of Chetumal, Mexico. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) is monitoring the track of the storm and expects that it will slowly begin to drift to the north or northwest later today.

A hurricane warning is in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula and Belize from Cabo Catoche southward to Monkey River Town. A hurricane watch is in effect for the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from west of Cabo Catoche to Progreso. The NHC also reports that heavy rains and winds are currently affecting Honduras, Guatemala, and Nicaragua.

USAID is the agency that manages the U.S. foreign assistance program and coordinates the United States response to international disasters.