Screen_Shot_2014-03-20_at_8.07.40_PMViewers might recall that back in the month of October 2009 a $2.5 million drainage project for residents of Black Water Creek was launched by the Government of Belize to alleviate flooding in the area. Phase one of the project was carried out by more than one contractor including D-Mar’s Construction Company. In 2011 the project was still incomplete and if our records are correct the last phase of the project was not completed until late 2012. Since then, the drainage systems put in place, has been wreaking havoc for several residents. To be exact, a total of seven properties in which the drains flow through, are feeling the effects of the problem. So what is causing quite a stir amongst the residents? Reporter Maria Novelo and video journalist Jesus Melgar followed the lead and filed this report.

Maria Novelo – Reporting

Julio Godoy – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“Hay tiempos que pasa el agua con sangre, hay tiempos que pasa con puro jabón y cuando pasa con sangre apesta bastante y nos afecta porque yo por eso no hago que mis nietos venga aquí por medio de que hay ratos que apesta mucho y por eso yo hago que se vaya por que se ve malo.”

Residents of Trial Farm are calling for the authorities to implement a new drainage system after a project which was constructed under the Social Investment Fund has gone awry. As mentioned, the million dollars drainage system was built to alleviate flooding but it seems that it is not serving its purpose. Many residents living in this area are fearful that they might contract various water-borne diseases from stagnant water caused by the lack of proper drainage in their neighborhoods.

Julio Godoy – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“Este tiene años desde que se hizo este culvert ahora peor porque Vega conecto esta zanja para acá, conecto el de Chikki para acá, conecto de San Lorenzo acá, conecto del hospital acá así es que toda esa agua pasa aquí, cuando esto está lloviendo recio el agua entra dentro de mi cocina y todo aquí parece un rio y es por eso peleo para que vea que si me lo componen pero yo ya me di cuenta que no me lo componen y ninguno lo compone.”

The drainage systems from the Northern Regional Hospital appear to be the root cause of the problem and residents fear that if the problem persists, it can pose several risk factors, for the people and for the environment.

Saturnino Aban – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“Water is coming from the hospital now and then it doesn’t have a strong flow so the water just settling in my yard and it stays here day and night because when the evening comes and the water stops flow and then I have the stench day and night.  This situation started since the drainage program that comes from San Lorenzo road got connected to the main culvert that crosses the main highway and crosses through Mr. Godoy and comes to all the other neighbors lots and ends at my one.”

Julio Godoy – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“Para la salud es bastante peligroso por medio de que tiempos que pasa con sangre, pasa feo, pasa con pedacitos de carne y esos animales los patos y las gallinas y todo eso se lo comen.”

Saturnino Aban – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“When the heavy rain comes it affects all the poor people that live on the low-lying area. There is a lady like ninety years old back there that when it floods she have to come out of her house because of this same problem.”

Maria Novelo – Reporter

“Some residences are saying that the stench is invariable?”

Saturnino Aban – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“That is why am looking for a solution to this thing I am not fighting but I want a solution to this may be the culvert can be diverted or maybe closed or something so that the water can stop flow this side.”

The stench emanating from the stagnant water makes life even more difficult for these residents who have been pleading to authorities to look into the situation; however, there has not been much progress.

Saturnino Aban – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“I have my mother that is ill right now and they always have malaria and those over there, they are very poor and nobody cares. The minister came by, the areas representative and said that he will to get some money from SIF to see what he can do with the drainage problem but I think that promises and words are carried by the breeze so we need action.”

Julio Godoy – Concerned Trial Farm resident

“Yo quisiera ver si me pueden ayudar, si pueden proteger esto para que la sanidad y ya le hable a la de la sanidad y a este y al otro y nada, han venido a tomar fotos, han venido a medir, han venido hacer cosas y nada componen solo camuflaje hacen.”

Above all, the drains are turning into breeding grounds for mosquitoes posing other health hazards for residents. Our efforts to get comment from the Social Investment Fund and Public Health proved futile today.

Because the drains are leading from the Hospital, residents said they would lodge complaints with the municipality and call for the urgent upgrade of the drainage system.

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