Cayes Ramp Up Hurricane Beryl Preparedness

Cayes Ramp Up Hurricane Beryl Preparedness

Business, Residents and authorities in the cayes are executing their hurricane preparedness plan as Hurricane Beryl threatens the Yucatán Peninsula. Jorge Aldana is posted on Ambergris Caye and has the following report.

Jorge Aldana, Reporter: Tourism activity on Ambergris Caye Caulker has come to an almost standstill in preparation for Hurricane Beryl. Over the past three days, residents, tour operators, restaurateurs, business owners, water taxi, airline companies and authorities have been collaborating and working around the clock to execute the hurricane plan for both islands. On Ambergris Caye alone, over 3,000 residents and visitors voluntarily evacuated. And that voluntary evacuation for both islands have ended after water taxes suspended operation until further notice. Local airlines announced that at the end of business day on Wednesday, their services would be suspended and scheduled to resume after the all-clear. NEMO coordinator for the cares Vanessa Parham explain more about what the organization has been doing. 

Vanessa Parham, NEMO Coordinator: “What we’ve been doing from days now is doing our EOC preparations, having updates from all our committee members, constantly meeting, being with the San Pedro EOC, getting their updates from departmental updates, getting updates from committees, looking at the amount of residents that’s leaving, preparing our shelters. As you know, that is one of our biggest disadvantage when it comes to the islands, our shelters. I’ve been in Caye Caulker yesterday hosting a meeting and preparations. I’m about to leave to do so again today in Caye Caulker.  We have the Coast Guard who’s helping us with education information warning to the surrounding islands.”

Jorge Aldana, Reporter: What are some of the major concerns coming up from residents as you are touching base with the two EOCs.

Vanessa Parham, NEMO Coordinator: “Okay, some of the major concerns that we’re having is people wanting to go to a shelter but needing assistance to go there, especially for those with special needs and disabilities. So we’ve gathered a list of those already. In San Pedro, we have designated the St. John Paul Youth Center for those with special needs and disability. In our committee meetings we have assigned which one of the emergency service system will be taking those people. Also, as you know, we’re asking the community right now, another big concern is the debris, is the scaffolding, is the construction materials that they have lying about that can potentially become flying missiles during wind and wave actions. We anticipate that we’re going to get strong wind and wave actions. So we’re asking the community to do their part as well. We have a team from the San Pedro town council right now going around, even in Caye Caulker as well, asking the residents to aid them and putting their garbage out on the street for them to be collecting it and properly disposing of it.”

Jorge Aldana, Reporter: One of the main concerns residents have been complaining is price gouging. Plywood and building materials, as well as grocery prices, has seen a sudden increase. According to Ricardo Martin, assistant to the Belize rural South area representative, Hon. Andre Perez, indicated that they are coming up with a plan to tackle this concern.

Ricardo Martin, Assistant to BRC Area Rep: “That’s the reports coming in, inspectors with the assistance of the San Pedro Town Council are looking at the matter. That is a big topic in our discussions currently. So we’re devising some strategy to take care of that issue.” 

Jorge Aldana, Reporter: Any final message? 

Ricardo Martin, Assistant to BRC Area Rep: “Again, final message is, you know, let’s keep safe, be prepared. Everyone that can voluntarily leave either Caye Caulker or San Pedro is highly encouraged.”

Jorge Aldana, Reporter: So far, businesses on the beach have taken measure to secure their assets. Residents have equally boarded their homes ahead of time. as advised by NEMO. Parham said that while voluntary evacuation off the island has been suspended, residents on the island who need to shelter are advised to do so with family members or friends. 

Vanessa Parham, NEMO Coordinator: “And for those who choose to stay and choose to seek a shelter kindly do so with a family, a relative, or a friend if you know they have a strong structure that you can seek safety with. If you choose to go to a shelter, a public shelter, then kindly take along your disaster survival kit whether that is safeguarding your documents, your money, your food, your water, your medication.”

Jorge Aldana, Reporter: Residents in the Bahia Puesta del Sol area of Caye Caulker as well as those in the low-lying areas of San Mateo, Boca del Río, San Juan, San Pedrito and DFC, are advised to monitor water levels and be prepared to evacuate if the need arises. Reporting for Love News from San Pedro Town, I’m Jorge Aldana.

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