Situation Report #1 – Hurricane Richard impact on Belize (as of 8.00am (Belize Local Time, October 25, 2010)

Message: Hurricane Richard impacts Belize with winds of near 90 miles per hour
Hurricane Richard, a Category One storm on the Saffir –Simpson Scale, made landfall in Belize at 5:00 p.m on Sunday October 24, 2010 with maximum sustained winds of near 90 miles per hour with higher gusts.

The centre of storm passed south of Belize District and North of Stann Creek District with the eye wall passing over the capital city of Belmopan. Hurricane Richard took about 12 hours to move across Belize.  The all clear was issued at 6.30 a.m (local time) today, Monday October 25, 2010.

The National Emergency Management Organization has reported that Hurricane Richard mostly affected the following areas: Cayo District, including San Ignacio and Benque Veijo Towns; Belmopan, Belize District including Belize City; Stann Creek and Orange Walk.  Preliminary assessments have indicated that the damage to Belmopan and Belize City was greater than the other affected areas.

5,000 persons evacuated to Government shelters during the passing of the storm.  

Preliminary reports on the impact have also indicated significant loss of roofs on buildings, being either partial or total damage. Over 100 small timber houses have been partially or totally destroyed in one area.

Downed telecommunication and power lines have severely disrupted these services in the affected areas.

All major highways have been closed to facilitate immediate clearing of debris and the National Emergency Management Organisation would announce the opening of the Highways for use by the public.

National Actions
Preliminary assessment of the impact is underway with teams deployed to affected areas. Aerial and Maritime Search and Rescue reconnaissance was conducted early this morning by two helicopters from the British Army Training and Support Unit (BATSUB) and Belize Coast Guard Vessels. They reported that there was no need for any major life saving operations.  No deaths have been reported.

Offices, schools and businesses will remain closed today, however all Public Officers have been requested to report for duty to assist with any clean up operations that may be necessary.

The Prime Minister of Belize has pledged to use all the resources available to provide assistance to the people who have been affected.

The National Emergency Operations Centre remains activated.

Initial Priority Actions and Needs:
Priority attention is being given to following:
•    Clearing of roadways
•    Communications and power restoration
•    Provision of shelter – plastic sheeting, roofing and building materials
•    Agriculture restoration

Actions by CDEMA Coordinating Unit
CDEMA made contact with the affected state to get an overview of the situation and offer any assistance required. The situation is presently being managed at the national level.

CDEMA CU will continue to monitor the situation and provide updates as appropriate.

Contact Details: the CDEMA CU 24Hr contact number is 246-425-0386

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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