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|Hurricane "Hattie" in Belize|
|The wreck of Mullins River|
|Hurricane Hattie - Spanish...|
|Melinda forest station|
|Fort Myers, Florida comes to B.H....|
|Mexican plane missing|
|Aid and donations|
|Extracts from government news...|
|News and briefs|
|Caye Caulker's recovery after...|
|Rationing of donations|
|Hurricane season of 1961|
|Report of casualties|
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|Table of Contents|
Table of Contents
Hurricane "Hattie" in Belize
The wreck of Mullins River
Hurricane Hattie - Spanish lookout
Melinda forest station
Fort Myers, Florida comes to B.H. aid
Mexican plane missing
Aid and donations
Extracts from government news letter
News and briefs
Caye Caulker's recovery after Hattie
Rationing of donations
Hurricane season of 1961
Report of casualties
Story of the hurricane that ripped through
the British Honduras,
on October 31, 1961
John D. Friesen
as compiled by
JOHN D. FRIESEN,
I n tr o d u c tio n ..................... ................ ....... ...... ... ......................... ................ 1
H urrican e H attie in B elize .......................................... ................................................. ...... 3
The Wreck of Mullins River ............................................ ......... 10
SHurricane Hattie-Spanish Lookout ................. ........... ............................ 13
M elinda F orest Station ............... .............. ... ........ .. ............ ......33
Fort Myers, Florida, Comes to British Honduras Aid ................................. 37
M exican P lane M missing ... ................................................... ............ ... 39
A id an d D on action s ..:.................................... ................ ............ ............ 43
Extracts from Government News Letters ........................... ........... 45
Results of Hurricane Hattie ..... ... ............. .............. ................ 47
S t ric k e n .......................................................................... ...................................................... ....... ... 5 3
N ew s a n d B riefs ....... .. ................ ........ ............................................................ 5 7
Caye Caulker's Recovery After Hattie ... .. .. ......................................... 69
D district N ew s ....................................... .. ........ ......... ...... 71
H attieville ........................................ 77
L ooting C urfew .................................................. ............... ............. 81
Rationing of Donations ...................................... ......... 85
H hurricane Season of 1961 .......................................................... ................87
R report of C casualties .. ........................... ........ .. ........ ............... 99
Hurricane Precautions ...................... .. ...... .................. 105
Hurricanes are only one of a series of elements which are
hazardous to life and property anywhere in the area, from
Panama to New York's Atlantic sea shores. But not all of
these areas are evenly frequented by the hurricanes. Espe-
cially in line of danger of hurricanes are the Mexican Gulf
coast area, any part bounding the Carribean sea, or any Island
in this area including the Atlantic shore from Florida to the
State of New York. These are the most frequented areas.
As these hurricanes mostly develop deep in the Atlantic
ocean, they may travel thousands of miles before they might
come into contact with life or property. Many times their
first victim might be a ship that gets a feel of it before even
it has heard of it. Also, possibly, an isolated island may get
the first feel of a hurricane developing in deep seas.
Many people who are lucky enough not to live in these
mentioned areas may feel some satisfaction that in their local
area no such element of danger could disturb the peaceful
But let us list a few other elements that are prevailent in
this world of ours and that sometimes come without advance
notice or calling.
Firstly, besides hurricanes, we have other storms that
can do damage like cyclones, typhoons and tornadoes. Tidal
waves, floods, avalanches, the eruption of volcanos, cloud-
bursts, snow blizzards, sand storms, earthquakes, and even
time can invoke great destruction.
Although we are including in this volume some pictures
of how and where hurricanes develop and also some descrip-
tion as to how they originate, the greater part of our descrip-
tion will be concentrated to the receiving end of a hurricane.
The photographs were largely supplied by the dept. of
information and communications in Belize, British Honduras.
The hurricane maps and description of the source of each of
the 10 hurricanes of the season of 1961, were supplied by
Gordon E. Dunn and Staff, U. S. Weather Bureau Office,
Hurricane "Hattie" in Belize
by Henry Burgess
The hurricane which struck Belize on September 10, 131),
with winds up to 130 m.p.h. was a child in comparison to
Hurricane "Hattie" which hit Belize, British Honduras on
Oct. 31, 1961, with winds of 150 miles per hour, gusts up to
200 m.p.h. and a tidal wave of fifteen feet. Giant Hurricane
Hattie was most vicious and has been described by some cor-
respondents as the worst disaster ever seen. To some, "Belize
was an appalling sight", to others "Belize was a city of horror
"Hattie" started blowing into Belize at about 11 p.m. on
Monday, October 30 and developed into intensity until day-
light. Then water rose over the whole city. It was as high as
ten feet in places. Wind and waves wrecked the town. Houses
were completely wrecked and carried away or left on their
sides or even upside down.
'Over the whole area of Belize there was a huge, tangled
mass of wreckage and debris. It is estimated that about
80 per cent of the houses in Belize were destroyed or seriously
damaged. Telephone and electric light poles were down with
wires twisted and torn loose. The electric power failed at
an early hour.
Government House Damaged
Government House, official residence of the governor, was
greatly damaged. Records in the office were in large part
ruined. Other government buildings were also damaged but
most records were saved. The customs house landing shed
and bonded warehouse an the water front received full force
of hurricane and tidaplwave with considerable damage to
the buildings. Large quantities of goods were destroyed.
The Shrimp Plant suffered heavily, as did also the Don
Williams Shirt Factory. The Presbyterian Church, a brick
building, was battered to pieces by a large iron tank which
was carried across the river by the wind and tide.
All motor vehicles in the town of Belize were rendered
unfit for service and many of them beyond repair. Boats had
been taken up the river the day before but some still
suffered considerable injury.
Thousands of people were made homeless The govern-
ment began at once to erect a temporary town, which present-
ly is known as Hattieville, sixteen miles out of town. Many
people left town to find accommodations in other towns of
the country. Those left behind, entered upon the tremendous
task of rebuilding homes.
Hospitals and clinics suffered heavily, but medical ser-
vices were kept going as well as possible till generous assis-
tance camel from the United States, Jamaica, neighboring
Republics of Guatemala, Mexico and Honduras and from the
United Kingdom and Canada. Food, clothing, blankets, me-
dicines, equipment, etc. and personnel came very soon from
far and near.
The generous help that has come to Belize and the country
has been astounding. British Hondurans can never be suffi-
ciently thankful to all who so generously came to their help
in their great tragedy.
Since the Government had selected shelters in which
people took refuge as the storm approached, the number
of deaths was comparatively low officially given as 262
for the whole hurricane area. Whereas, the number of
victims of the hurricane of 1931 was about one thousand.
At that time the Jesuit College of St. John at Loyola Park
was totally destroyed. Ten Jesuits at the College and one
at St. Ignatius Church in town were killed. St. Catherine
Convent of the Sisters of Mercy was also completely destroyed
in 1931 but all the Sisters and boarding students were unin-
The Catholic Church suffered heavy losses from Hurricane
"Hattie" but all priests, Sisters, Brothers and Jesuit Scholas-
tics came through unharmed. The cathedral and bishop's
house were half unroofed.
The floor of the cathedral was raised up about five feet
by the water and settled back in a broken condition. Pews
and other furniture were piled up in a tangled mess. The
altars were drenched by the rain but otherwise undamaged
and all the statues and Stations of the Cross were unharmed.
1The Cathedral Hall was demolished and the Holy Redem-
er (Cathedral Parish) school buildings were greatly damaged
and all furniture and equipment, even on the .second floor
were damaged, while books, charts, etc. were totally destroyed
by the water from the tidal wave and rain.
St. Catherine Convent and school buildings had heavy
losses in buildings, furniture and equipment. Pallotti Convent
was unroofed and sustained heavy losses in furniture and
equipment as did also nearby Palloti High School. (
In Stann Creek, a town of 5,000, where nearly all houses
were demolished, the Catholic Mission lost two school build-
ings and the parochial residence and Sisters' Convent suf-
In the rural area, eight Mission schools were destroyed
as well as several teachers' houses.
Just after the hurricane of 1931, Mr. Gerald Smith, a
former Postmaster General 'of British Honduras, wrote from
abroad in the CLARION, one of the Belize newspapers, that
the town of Belize should be moved inland, but the sugges-
tion was not taken seriously.
Now, however, that Hurricane "Hattie" has visited Belize
with so much distress left in its wake, there is a strong
determination on the part of the government to move the
capital inland from 31 to 50 miles. Many Belizeans will not
want to move away from the present site and it will be
necessary to have a port city, which should be built to with-
stand hurricanes and tidal waves.
British Honduras has received generous financial assis-
tance from abroad. Committees in England and various parts
of the Commonwealth, in the United States and elsewhere
have raised large sums of money for the hurricane-stricken
little country. His Holiness, Pope John XXIII, soon after the
disaster, sent $2,000.00 in U. S. exchange.
When there is so much suffering throughout the world
caused by wars and civil disturbance, the work of evil men,
it is wonderful to see how much charity and generosity
others display towards their fellow men in distress.
Hurricane "Hattie" at Sittee River, April 27th, 1962
as experienced by Joseph W. Bleare P. C. No. 100
On Sunday, October 29, 1961, while I was at the residence
of Mr. John Bailey, J. P. at Freetown, Sittee River, along with
Calvert Reynolds, Amado Ameya and Dennis Gordon, we
heard the news over B.H.B.S. of the very dangerous hurricane
Hattie in the Caribbean travelling towards Cuba.
I told the gentlemen that I personally didn't like the
position of the hurricane because it could easily change its
course and strike British Honduras. They told me that they
believed we were safe from it.
I disagreed with them and explained, that at that time
Cuba was experiencing cool weather while B. H. was having
very warm weather which is just the type for the path of a
hurricane. The little debate ended with the others still not
seeing it my way.
On Monday, October 30 came the report from the Armed
Forces Radio station that Hattie had changed her course and
was travelling in a westerly direction. On hearing this news,
I was now more than convinced that B.H. was out for another
licking by a severe hurricane because Mexico too was having
cold weather coming from across the U. S. A. and we
were still having warm temperatures. This same day, Hattie
again changed its course, bringing Northern British Honduras
into range with it.
Realizing the size and the velocity of this eighth hurri-
cane of the season, and with Sittee only about forty five
miles from Belize, the capital, I went around advising the
villagers to take all precaution against the hurricane which
I knew would hit us. They told me that according to the
news from B.H.B.S. it was going to hit from along Belize to
Corozal. After explaining to them that "Hattie" was not to be
trusted, they went about taking my advice.
Having informed the people and returned to the police
station, I secured all windows and doors on the station. Still
paying keen interest on the movement of the hurricane, I had
a strong feeling that Sittee would be in the centre of it.
Around midnight there were about six families (some
thirty people) taking shelter in the police station with me.
We were having calm weather with heavy white clouds in the
sky. It was so calm here that we could have heard the waves
lashing on the shoal by the river bar which is about five
miles from the police station. B.H.B.S. was reporting that
Belize was getting strong winds and rain. The nice soft music
in the stillness of the night from the radio played a good
part on our morale. We didn't know what was in store for
On Tuesday, October 31, a little after midnight, the local
broadcasting station B.H.B.S. was cut off suddenly. This
brought a look of suspicion to everybody's face in the police
station. I remarked to them, "Belize is now getting it." I
tuned in to W.G.B.S. Miami and received from that station,
that a report was given by a ship which was anchored in the
Harbour at Belize that she was getting a good licking by
Nature's "Hattie", and that the ship's super structure was
being washed by high seas.
I heard a funny noise as if something was coming from
very far and I looked at the clock on the wall. It was 3 a.m.
This is the time we started to get some heavy puffs of wind
and rain. The wind got more severe and the puffs more
continuous. I then told the people who were in the station
with me "This is it." Things on the outside started to sound
horrible, trees began to fall and the zincs on the roof started
to lift. This was about 4 a.m. The wind had then developed
to nearly 100 M.P.H.
When it was around 125 m.p.h. the latrine in the police
station compound was blown away and the front door on
the station forced open although I had it nailed. Newton Fod-
ur, Handell Cadle, Arthur and Matthew Andrews and I,
with great effort, managed to shut it and nailed it again.
A window was ripped off by the branch of a mango tree.
About six a.m., everybody looked pleased because the
wind had abated but remembering the 1931 hurricane when
I was only nine years old, I told them it wasn't over yet. This
calmness didn't last long. It was back on us again soon from
a different direction (South). This was about 175 m.p.h. The
building began to crack, the kitchen window was blown down,
the pipe knocked off the vat and the water began to pour out.
The room door was blown open but we nailed it shut again.
When we were nailing the door we heard a knocking on it and
we were just in time to stop a lady from being blown away
over the rail. The roof was blown off and everybody started
to get wet from the ceiling which was cracking. Some people
were trembling so I took what dry clothing I could lay my
hands on and gave it to them. I covered about ten children
with my rain coat.
Around 7 a.m. when the South gable of the building
looked as if it were going down, I saw fright stricken faces
and suggested that we say the Lord's prayer. Everybody join-
Having said the prayer, I instructed them to draw near
to the rear door and get ready to abandon the building. I
told them if they had to do this, to please do it without any
rush. One side of the building was rocking, so the men and
I pushed the iron safe near to it. This helped a great deal.
We didn't have to abandon the building because around
nine a.m., "Hattie" was going over the mountains with
less force and the best portion of the building was still
standing. But the vat was now dry.
We took a bad lashing starting at three a.m. but by one
p. m. it looked as if we were being saved. With the wind still
about 45 m.p.h., I gave Mr. Matthew Andrews instruction
to take-over the station while I went out and made a check on
The village, with a population of 444, having 114 buildings
and three different banks (namely, High Sand, Middle Bank
and Freetown) is about three miles in length; I decided to
check on High Sand first.
Going up from the police station, everything was flatten-
ed by the hurricane along High Sand. The mountains, which
were not visible yesterday, now looked as if they were put
there today. With the condition of the village as it was, I
couldn't help thinking that all the other buildings were de-
stroyed and only the people who lived through the hurricane
in the police station were alive.
I went along Middle Bank, first shouting, "Hey there, is
anybody hurt?" At first I didn't get any answer so I continued
shouting. I was relieved of my terrible suspicions by a voice
saying, "No, P.C." Running to where I heard the answer I
noticed that it was Mrs. Emma Reynolds. She was under
the roof of her wrecked building with her husband and
I continued on my investigation and found people all
along the way crawling from under rubbish. Remembering
Edgar Sankall who stayed alone at All Piner as the light
man for the mail boat, I inquired about him and was told
that he hadn't come in.
Having made checks on the people at High Sand, I ad-
vised them to go to the station to take refuge from the flood
which was expected from rivers after the heavy rain.
At Middle Bank it was the same. No one was killed
and all houses were down with the exception of the health
centre and the Roman Catholic School.
After crossing over to Freetown, I found that the news
there was much more unpleasant. With all the houses nearly
destroyed there were two deaths and one person badly hurt.
I saw the body of Walter Kelly, 21 years old, pinned
down by neck and arm by the floor of the building which fell
on him and his grandfather, James Kelly, 83 years. I didn't
see the body of the old man because he was further under-
neath. Levi Coleman, 10 years old, was groaning in the Meth-
odist Church suffering from pains in his groin from injuries
which he received when the building fell and killed his
great grandfather and other relatives. Little Levi died later
the same week.
Returning to Middle Bank, I stopped at the Roman Cath-
olic school because the flood was already waist high. The
people who were there advised me to wait there until the
water would go down as it was dangerous to try and get
to the police station through it. I took their advice and
stopped there until the following day.
On Wednesday, November 1, I returned to the station
which was now filled with refugees. Some were cooking food
given to them by one of the grocers, Calvent Reynolds.
Normally, the people don't drink the water from the river
but at this stage they were doing so. I advised them to
boil it first.
During the course of the day I switched on my radio
and picked up a conversation between somebody from Guate-
mala and Stanley Field Airport, Belize. Through this, I was
able to learn of the damage done to Belize and that some
helicopters were coming from Panama.
Hearing of the helicopters coming, I got a team of men
and cleaned a field in front of the station for a possible land-
ing of one of the helicopters.
With Frank, Arnold, Alfred Forman, John Ramos Sr.
and myself, walking in mud and water over fallen trees for
about five miles, we managed to reach the main road and
went to Stann Creek in the jeep which John Ramor had
parked on the main road at 9:30 a.m. on Thursday, November 2.
In the jeep there were some oranges which we really made
good use of. Going on to Stann Creek, it looked as if a big
fire had passed through the forest and burnt the bushes up
to the mountains.
On arriving in Stann Creek, I reported to the District
Commissioner Mr. G. T. Sabido and Inspector Adolphur. The
D. C. immediately got a Cessna plane loaded with food and
dispatched it to Sittee instructing the pilot to drop the food
in front of the police station. Unfortunately, the pilot missed
the target and dropped the food somewhere else so the people
of Sittee were out of luck with that.
We returned from Stann Creek on the following day,
Friday, November 3, 1961 on board the M.V. Rio Dulce with
Doctor Heap of the Medical department, Flynn of the U. S.
Navy, Sgt. Evans, his orderly, nurse Miranda and the other
people who accompanied me to Stann Creek. The villagers
were very happy to know that we had brought them food
and medicinal supplies. I was told that Edgar Sankall was
The thing that impressed me was to see that the men
in the police station had collected all the zincs which had
blown off the station and had the roof repaired. This was
done in my absence in order to keep the rain off the 102
peoples' heads who were now taking shelter in the station.
Knowing that the food which we brought to Stann Creek
wasn't sufficient to issue out to each individual I called up
Frank Muslar, Joseph Espinosa, Alexander Lockwood and
David McDougal also Walter Castillo and issued the food
evenly to them according to the number of people which
they had in charge and instructed them to have it cooked
and to see that everybody got a little to eat.
On Saturday November 4, a bit of history was made
in Sittee when two helicopters from the U.S. Navy landed
in front of the police station with food and water. One man
remarked "If Hattie hadn't come, we wouldn't have heli-
copters landing here." The helicopter left the same afternoon
with doctors Heap and Flynn and Sgt. Evans.
By Sunday, everybody was innoculated against typhoid
by nurse Miranda.
During the emergency period, we also had the visits
of the Captain and men of H.M.S. Landondemy, H.M.S.
Vidal, doctors from the University College of the West Indies,
Colonel Hall and men of the Worcestshire Regiment, the R.
C. mission, Seventh Day Adventist, World church services,
the Red Cross, the D. C. Mr. Sabido and Inspector Adolphur,
the First Minister, the Hon. George Price, the Chief Secre-
tary and the Hon. D. L. McKay representative for the
Stann Creek Rural Division. On most of the visits by the
above mentioned people, we received from them either
food, blankets, clothing, zincs or gift boxes.
The co-operation given me by the villagers in getting the
village cleaned up in such a short time without any incident
was excellent. I know that they are more than thankful for
all the help they received from the different people whom
I have mentioned before. We are thankful that the Great
Master has spared most of us from the very powerful "Hattie",
which will be remembered as long as we live.
The Wreck of Mullins River
by Constable Arthur Skeran
No. 415 Central Police Station P. T. O.
October 31, 1961 was one of the finest days in the month
for the little village of Mullins River 27 miles south of
Belize. This popular resort village, only a mile in length and
100 yards wide, lay quiet, in the evening just before dusk.
Then, suddenly, the cry of "Hurricane is out, Hurricane
is out" echoed from the lips of the three hundred inhabitants
and the scene changed swiftly.
Night had just been settling in when I had returned
from a day's work on my father's ranch about one and a half
miles northwest of this village. The sky was darkened with
a reddish glow hanging over the distant hills lying to the
It was the custom of the young men to play cards and
drink at one of the saloons every night. So it was on the
night of the hurricane. We, my brother and myself, were
in the upstairs room of a saloon in the southern end of the
village with about 15 other young men ages 15-25. We were
not in the least bit troubled as we had never experienced
a hurricane before and did not know what it entailed.
It was about the tenth hour when the effect of the breeze
could be felt from the ordinary wind. Then the latest report
from a neighboring radio said the hurricane was heading
straight for British Honduras.
The wind increased. The zinc of the house began to
give way and it was then that the crowd in the saloon became
annoyed because the rain was pouring through the roof and
it stung like the bite of an ant.
We then decided to go into the saloon. No sooner had
we done so when the verandah along with the step came
down with a crash, startling us a little.
We stayed there for what seemed like days. At intervals
we heard neighboring houses going down with muffled
By this time the water was rising very fast and was about
two feet in the saloon. It was about the fourth hour of the
morning and it was beginning to get clear.
As the house was now shaking rapidly, we decided to
run for the old' station, one of the strongest and largest of
the one hundred and fifty houses; it was about 200 yards
from the saloon.
One by one we emerged from the saloon, struggling over
trees, zinc and pieces of houses. Fortunately, only one boy
was cut on the ankle by a zinc. A few minutes later however,
it was patched up by some daring females who rendered
first aid to him, and later to another boy who was hit
in the left eye by a whirling piece of board.
Despite the howling wind, the station stood its ground
but when the enormous waves slashed against it with the
water about waist high in the building, it could not restrain.
Down it went in pieces, leaving about seventy people to
battle for their lives. However, God Almighty is a
wonderful God, for by this time it was daylight and we were
able to see our way.
It was a piteous sight to see all the children crying so
mournfully. Some of them forced their way onto trees and
the waves slashed at their feet like hungry wolves.
At this time it seemed as if we were experiencing the
centre of the disaster for the rain was just pouring fantasti-
cally and the wind at its worst causing zincs, boards, vats and
many other things to go flying like kites.
Assisting as much as we could, with the children, my
brother and I decided to swim inland, away from the sea.
Joined by eleven others of which two were men, one a woman,
and the rest children, we swam for what I presumed to be
two hours, resting at intervals with our burden, the six
children. We reached a good shelter, on some trees about
two feet above water and we decided to wait for the bitter
end. It was about this time that I remembered Noah's flood
and I thought that this must be a second one.
A few minutes later my attention was attracted by two
horns emerging from the water a foot and a half below. Im-
mediately I beckoned to my nearest companion, who happen-
ed to be my brother. He tremblingly asked what this was, to
which I replied that I did not know. This extra-ordinary
creature came out of the water entirely. It had two horns
on a head like that of a cat with teeth like that of a wolf on
the body of a small dog. It was only visible for a few minutes.
After it disappeared we stood watching each other speech-
Half nude, with the rain burning through our skin like
sharp needles, we waded our way through the water which
was now subsiding rapidly and only about waist high to the
Arriving on the spot where the village once stood, only
two buildings were visible besides the new station and the
Roman Catholic mission.
It was now about 3 p.m., November 1. Not having any-
thing to eat from the night, we were now very hungry.
However, the only food there were cocoanuts and we
ate these for about three days before we got aid from the
After checking ourA.missing people we found out that
forty-three were absent. This was the worst day I ever
spent in my life in the little village known as Mullin's
HURRICANE HATTIE -
By John D. Friesen
Yes, this is the night following hurricane Hattie, and
since our nerves have not calmed down much from yes-
terday, sleep does not come easily. Since another storm
started blowing at this time of night, we got up again to
pay a little more tribute to yesterday's passing storm.
Between torrents of rain and gusts of wind and storm I
will take off a while to tell you about the big hurricane
that struck Spanish Lookout about 6:00 .a.m., Oct. 31, 1961.
Oct. 31 was on Tuesday, the day in the week that we usually
go to Belize with produce (vegetables and eggs). Since fairly
stiff winds had been blowing since Monday night, and had
kept picking up in volume, it was easy to leave the bed and get
up early to make ready for the trip to Belize.
We had not slept comfortably at all that night. Since 1 a.m.
we had gotten up occasionally to shut off strong gusts of
wind, and later in the earlier part of the morning, rain had
to be kept out of the house. Our houses are built so as to
-let in the cooling breezes from the Carribean, but not to
withstand hurricanes and rains which are liable to come in
horizontally. It started to get quite uncomfortable. Only
curtains and in some instances shutters kept outside elements
from coming in. Strong winds are not usual at night time in
When I got up at 4 o'clock this morning I could see a light
coming from the next village one and a half miles north
from here which meant that despite the storm my friends
were planning to go to Belize. Although some rain was start-
ing to come down by this time, it had been negligible thus
far. It was the storm and the uncertainty of the weather that
made our trip to Belize doubtful.
I had gone back to bed and apparently fallen asleep
when suddenly the noise of the tractor awakened me. I
hurriedly dressed and made ready for the trip. As the rain
now came down intermittently, things also started changing.
It was now 5 a.m.
My son, Daniel, was preparing to take me to the river,
where Reimer's Feed Shop had their truck parked for con-
venient loading on the other side of the river. Here roads
are safe from rain. We had all our vegetables loaded from
the day previous and were ready to go. Not much time was
lost in preparation.
But by this time the fury of the storm had increased in
intensity and rain was whipping down faster. I decided I
would stay home and Daniel would go to Belize where
he would help with the selling of and unloading of the
precious cargo, which at this time probably meant about
3000 lbs. of produce. And, if possible, I would go this afternoon
on the bus to help with the selling and distribution of ve-
Since Danny left, the storm was increasing and the
closing of shutters and curtains was quite inadequate and
the floors of our house were starting to wet up. The chores
and milking were left undone. I made more shelter for our
four week old pullets which were housed in a small 10 x 12
chicken house with strips on the side, by finding some bags
and nailing them on for shelter
By 6 o'clock, or a little after, trees which we had left stand-
ing in the pasture for shade were starting to topple over.
It was 7 o'clock now and we should have had our breakfast.
Instead, we were uneasy and moved around in the house
to look out one window and the next. By this time the
intensity of the storm had increased to such a proportion
that we felt sure there must be a hurricane on its way here.
It was now about similar to what hurricane Anna had done
when it struck about 60 miles south of Belize in
earlier part of the season, striking at Mango Creek and Mon-
key River or the one we had last year which struck
much the same area, bringing us much storm and about three
to four inches of rain, but no real damage to property or
As we have no radios we had no warning of the hurri-
cane whatsoever. We later found out that some of our people
had gone to Belize on Monday and were sent home by
Belize officials and friends. They, however, arrived home
late and had not given any alarm. If this was going to be
a hurricane, it had come on short notice. Quite frequently,
we heard of a hurricane off the coast somewhere, deep in
the ocean, moving slowly westward to some populated area
on the shores, or swinging out of range and diminishing in
the deep seas.
We knew what it meant if a hurricane came into the
danger zone of Belize, when hurricane Carla moved into that
zone, as that was the very night that many of us stayed in
Belize. We had a little knowledge of what is actually going
on just before a hurricane strikes. We had seen many helmeted
police, probably from the reserve or volunteer force, riding
their bikes from place to place to check and give advice.
Many had started nailing their shops shut.
At 4 o'clock the news had been such that the red danger
flag on the courthouse square was hoisted. This meant that
the hurricane was moving in, and people were warned to
Hurricane Carla at that time had winds only up to 50 or
60 miles per hour, which was not considered too dangerous.
Nevertheless, I had gone to a store to buy a flashlight for
the night. They said that the electricity was the first thing
to go out, and I did not want to grope around in the dark
amongst dark people on such a night. But Carla decided to
take a different course that time. The 10 o'clock news re-
ported Carla heading into the Gulf of Mexico. In the morning
the red danger flag was taken down and Carla was no longer
considered a threat to British Honduras. Carla later struck
Galvestone Texas with a terrific 150 mile per hour gale.
So if this was going to be a hurricane now, we had not
heard of it. It was now 8:30 and we saw Daniel coming home
on the tractor and trailer. This, to us, meant that they had
decided not to go to Belize in such weather. We expected
them to have stayed at Jacob Hein's store, or take to some
other shelter on the way. We had not expected them to have
crossed the river as yet, due to the extreme weather, but
they had, and had stored the vegetables in the Reimer's Feed
Shop warehouse on the other side of the river. Mr. John L.
Barkman and C. W. Reimer came along with Daniel but went
The storm was now terrific and rain came down in
great gushes, wetting everything in its path. We had our doubts
for Mr. Barkman and Mr. Reimer as we saw them go on so
thoroughly soaked, fighting the storm. We had hoped they
would turn in on the last house of this village but they went
on for home.
Mr. Reimer was showing signs of exhaustion and shiver-
ing from the wet clothes. The great storm made it feel cool,
although actually it was not so cool. For us thin blooded
people here however, it seemed really cold.
By 9 o'clock, we knew that we were in a hurricane
as Daniel had already told us of several palm-thatched
houses or barns that had been blown down on his way up
from the river. Trees had been toppling over since 7 a.m.,
coming down in big thuds. The ground vibrated from their
weight as the 60 footers came to earth. It was about this
time that our 30' x 60' ft. shed, also palm-thatched, went
down with fuel drums, corn, 150 old hens and what not
buried under the big heap of palm leaves.
In the house everything was getting wet and water was all
over the floor as the rain and storm increased to a new fury.
The wind whipped straight through the house. Once and
again the curtains were pulled shut and nailed on again, but
again they were blown right in. In the end they were left to
the storm, as everything was wet anyway.
We were now crowding into the center room for the
only sheltered part of the inside house. We were scared and
wet, starting to shiver. We confessed our sins one to another,
and knelt down in prayer.
All this time there was no sign of any letup in the storm
nor rain. Instead, the storm was gaining momentum and fury.
Looking out now to the north-east, we could distinguish one
gust from the other when the big remaining trees bent
their tall heads nearly to the wet ground. When the wind
struck the house, the building would shake and vibrate.
Everywhere you looked at seemed unsafe and we were plan-
ning to flee the house. But where to?
We still had some fairly dry quilts, so we took them and
wrapped them around our bodies and then covered these with
a plastic cover to keep out the rain. Then we went out but
hesitated in the porch as to which direction to take. We
found that the wind had shifted from northwest to northeast.
On the porch we were well protected from the storm and rain
and we remained there.
About this time our other thatched hen house was in
danger as the big tree standing behind it, (I believe it must
have been around 60 feet high with enormous branches to
all sides) started to lean over. Finally, it fell straight over
the building and seemed to hold it from blowing away. But
as the storm shifted to the east, the henhouse gave way and
went down flat, covering the 150 pullets with it.
This was about 10 o'clock. Till now we had some shelter
from our bush on the northern side of the yard, but the
larger trees gave way and some branches were breaking off,
so that we could now see the gable of the church from
here right over our once high, shelter belt. Since we were
so well protected from the storm here we could not think of
any safer place. Besides, we had as much protection as our
neighbors. At about 11 o'clock J. B. Loewen's house had
slid over to one side of the foundation. This was about the
time that the hurricane was at its peak, for after 11 we could
not notice any increase in the storm's velocity.
I had persuaded my family to take a little food in case we
should go through more hardships, although nobody felt hun-
gry. We still were ready to flee in case the house should
start to break up.
Between 11 and 12 o'clock when the gale was at its peak
we noticed that we could no longer see the church building
and we considered it gone too. It had been a 40' x 70'
palm-thatched structure. It was also during this time that
we noticed the school building, 40 rods to the west of here,
hanging limply to one side. The porch in front was gone
too. After 12 o'clock the rain started to abate and soon after
that it was noticeable that the storm had also lost some of
At about 2 p.m. we had enough courage to prepare a meal
and eat our first hot meal of the day. Many families left
their homes to go to their neighbors during the worst part
of the storm and rain. M. C. Penners vacated their house and
spread out their big tarpaulin, and crept under it. They sat
on half of it and used the other half for covering their family
A. P. D. Reimers left their house at 9 o'clock, and sat for an
hour in their empty chicken house, as their house had been
lifted several times from 6 inches to 12 inches high. When that
no longer seemed safe, they left for a neighboring empty
house and remained there, soaked, for another three hours,
using it only as shelter. Their house had lifted off its cement
blocks at about 10 o'clock and was now pegged up by some
of the concrete blocks poking through the floors.
Our trip to El Cayo and Belize City Nov. 2. and 3.
On the second day after the hurricane, we decided we must
dispose of our produce or take a complete loss. Of course, we
could only cross on a boat, as the Belize River was overflowing.
We crossed the river by motor boat with John K. Reimer as
pilot. The river had swollen, so we had now at least half a mile
to the opposite shore. The sun was shining brightly and the
outlook on life was better. But oh, the smell! Where did it come
from? We did not have to guess long. We drove past the car-
cass of an animal which had started to decompose. John K.
Reimer, who was our driver said there was another animal in
the bush, sticking out of the water. It looked as though it had
still been living on the last trip but there seemed no way to
help the poor creature in the current. We had no gun to do
away with it so it was left to its plight. It could not have lasted
many more minutes.
We found our goods intact at the storage room, and
after we loaded the produce, we were on our way to the little
town El Cayo (about 1500 inhabitants) to obtain a permit
from the police and find out if we could dispose of part or
SWING BRIDGE AFTER
This is a good view of the Swing Bridge and market square with
the tidal wave still in.
Swing Bridge back to normal two years after Hattie.
all of our goods here. Although the merchants and the hur-
ricane emergency committee were talking big at the start, it
whittled down to about 20 cases of eggs and 10 crates of vege-
Even with the town's population crowded to double
its original size, people hesitated to buy outright as merchants
could not know if people had come with money. Besides,
help was supposed to come any time now. Guatemala had
just offered a planeload or two of goods for hurricane relief,
and it would be decided tonight at a meeting whether help
from this country would be acceptable. Evidently, help from
any country could not very well be denied when people
actually were in a plight. And so it was with this generous
offer from a good, neighboring country.
It was getting late now, already past 3 p.m., and we
were not on our way to Belize yet. Everything took so long
to decide because everybody was so undecided. People were
talking big stories of Hattie, and rumors went around that
there still was 10 ft. of water on the highway towards Belize.
So what could we do at this stage, go back home?
We would find out ourselves, and at about 4 o'clock
in the afternoon we decided to try our luck. We hit out for
Belize, but at 56 miles frcm Belize we were actually confront-
ed with seven ft. of water on the highway. Other vehicles
were also stalled here on their way to Belize. People had fled
from Belize before Hattie and could now not get back to find
out about their homes and relatives.
Rumors were running unchecked, and everybody was
anxious to find out the actual facts. Others with us tried to
This scene and a terrible stench of burning flesh met the author
as he came to Belize shortly after Hattie. Bodies burning in a blaze
with legs and arms sticking out filled the air with a sickening smell
as a party made its way to the city's centre.
NORTH FRONT STREET
In front of the Paslow Building on North Front Street. Three natives
stand left in front of post office in waist deep water. The Landrover in
the picture was useless of course till the waters resided.
NORTH FRONT STREET
North Front Street in the heart of Belize City back to normal two
years after the hurricane.
This street is completely blocked in a scene taken immediately
after Hattie. People are just digging themselves out of the wreckage.
find out how fast the water was receding and how long it
would take till the water would be only two to three feet
deep. We measured and then timed, and again we measured
and timed. It was going down about 6 inches every
hour. That meant within six to eight hours we would be
able to pass. Before settling down for the night, we had our
supper on the highway at the rear of the truck. Darkness
had come fast and we could hardly see to eat our supper.
The weather seemed to be fair enough, and after finishing
our scanty meal we settled down for the night, one person
on the seat of the truck, two on the truck box at rear, and
two under the truck at the rear. We had a few empty jute
bags to sleep on and in this country we don't worry much
with what we cover ourselves up. The night was soon past.
At 3 a.m. the water was down to where we would try it
and it turned out to be only two ft. deep. Soon we were on our
way again to Belize. At mile 51 we were again confronted
with water on the highway, this time at Roaring Creek. Here
the water was not so deep but it stretched out for nearly half
a mile. Again we waited to find out what would happen next.
A traffic scene approaching the Swing Bridge in the Belize City.
Notice left driving, which was changed only October 1st, 1961 to
After waiting for nearly an hour a Land Rover came
from the opposite direction without difficulty and we were
again on our way to Belize. It was still dark. If it hadn't been
for this, we would have been better able to calculate the
damage by the flood in Roaring Creek. We found out later
that the water had actually been as high as to the second
story of a house. This was equally true of El Cayo where
water damage was probably as great or greater as from that
done by the hurricane itself. In one instance alone a store was
flooded to the second storey and damage to the extent
of $50,000.00 was the result.
Although the highway was flooded we had no further
trouble in coming to the 30,000 inhabitant city. At mile six
we stopped at the canal bridge to clean off and wash. It
was about 6:30 a.m. and broad daylight. One mile from Belize
is the graveyard where thousands of Belizeans sleep. The
graveyard extended on both sides of the road, and further
along the road you could see a fire blazing.
A man was feeding the fire from the debris the hurricane
had left. Upon nearing the blaze, about 30 ft. from the road
we could distinguish the bodies of human beings under the
blaze, perhaps half a dozen or more. Legs were still sticking
out of the fire. A little further away from the road was a
trench dug by bulldozer where the remains would be thrown
in after the fire would go down. Says Jacob Hein, I thought
I smelled some awful stench when we neared this place.
Before we entered Belize, the truck stopped and Mr. P. D.
Reimer and P. K. Reimer asked if we still wanted to go on in?
Jacob Hein and myself were on the load at the back. I said we
were still determined to go ahead. Even at the risk of bandits
helping to unload? So on we went, and since we were
sitting on the load and above the box of the truck, we were
continually dodging telephone wires. Dave Plett, my son-in-
law, driver, was dodging telephone poles as well, though it
was now almost impossible to dodge all of them. Even on
our way in we had run over telephone wires hundreds of
times as they were strewn all over the highway. From here
on we are able to drive only where a bulldozer had cleared
NOW .. ANOTHER BEGINNING
With the storm clouds gone and the flood waters disappeared, the
people, still stunned, prepare themselves for the work that lies ahead in
cleaning up and rebuilding. The picture was taken looking west on North
Front Street. The bulldozer has opened the street.
Their behaviour seemed queer, so we stopped and discussed
what would now be the proper procedure.
We decided to have the truck back up to the Shell Oil
and park there till we could find out more about the situation.
P. K. Reimer, J. Hein and Dave Plett remained to guard the
truck and produce. If only the people would not become aware
of our precious cargo. If they did, we would not have any
more worries of how to get rid of our produce, and the load
with a value of $2,000.00 might be unloaded in short order.
But alas, we had our live chicken on top of the load and this
could be seen from a distance, and might b, taken notice
of any minute and our trip turn out to be a complete failure.
P. D. Reimer and myself trudged through the mud to the
Centre. We had no idea if the Centre would still be there
or if the Denlingers had managed to stay alive. The city
seemed to be just one big wreck, and it was a miracle that
not many more lives were lost during the storm, as there
were houses strewn all over town on every street school
houses, church buildings, colleges, and the fire hall, Post
office, government buildings and government dwellings. All
had suffered, and roofs were ripped open and walls were
smashed in. It was a horrible sight to behold of a city that
was at other times so peaceful, and quiet, now lying in such
a horrible mass.
This picture was taken in the early morning hours after Hattie
:on October 31. The vulnerable situation in which the people were left
after Hattie. Four inches of rain followed after this picture was taken
the following night. Photo from Pickstock Street from the Mennonite
SPhoto Mrs. C. Denlinger I
We were now nearing the Center. A large crowd was
still going in and out of a store just across the street from
the Center. It looks to me as if that store is being raided, I
said to Mr. Reimer, who was at this time forming the same
conclusion. We had never seen such a raid before and were
taken quite by surprise.
There however, was the Center quite intact with only
some sheets of roofing gone, and a thorough soaking inside
and out. The tidal wave that accompanied the hurricane had
been from eight to 10 feet deep all over town and left
no part of town untouched. After the water had receded it
had left a four inch muck and bad odor all over the city.
Mr. Chester Denlinger, who was at that time the manager
of the Mennonite Center, was watching the raiders across the
street and quite forgot to say hello to us as we entered. We
enquired where we could unload the produce, but at present
they had no place, although they very much would like to do
so, because the city would be needing food soon.
Mr. Denlinger and Jake Thiessen a man from Canada,
also serving the Center for two years for M. C. C., advised us
to go to the police station to find out where to unload. So
we hurried to the police station for more information. Only
a hundred steps from the Central police station another store
was being raided, but no police had appeared to stop this.
So we just marched past the raiders and enquired again
where to unload our produce. I know now they must have
felt sorry for us to try to unload or even be in town with
that truck load of goods unprotected. Nevertheless, they
informed us to try the marketing board, since they would be
made responsible for all food distribution in this disaster.
We went back to the truck to let the others know of our
delay, and that we would have to leave them again to trudge
over to the marketing board. They were not much encouraged
by our news, but as the raiders were still busy at the other
two places, everything remained quiet at the truck.
We were past the swing bridge and coming beyond the
post office where again a large crowd had gathered. A barb
wire barracade was quickly being unrolled at his place and
soldiers were all around. We had to do some figuring to find
a place to go through. The crowd was pushing towards the
door of another store the soldiers were fixing their rifles and
bayonets. The sergeant, close to the door, was getting ready
for action, and we had in the meantime passed the first
barb wire barricade and were heading for the other side.
I was fast sensing the danger we were getting into as the
soldiers came from the outside of the barb wire barricade.
We were in the midst of it and I started to search out the
Looting which broke out shortly after the hurricane, is seen in
action here in front of the Royal Bank in Market Square. Note the
man carrying home a complete roll of dress material.
faces of the closest soldiers and smile at them, so that they
would know that we were not one of the raiders. But they
scarcely took heed, as they were watching for the signal
kfom the sergeant. Only as we stepped past the far side
:- the barricade did we get close enough to one of the sentries
that he actually smiled back in recognition. "Did you see in
what a tense situation we were in?" I asked Peter. He had
only now realized the amount of danger that we had just
gan passing through.
'The army had just been stationed here this morning and
had come in only the day previous by plane from Jamaica
.tt.help our country maintain order. We were now marching
towards Mr. Guy Nord's store and sentries were standing
gi Lrd on our way. Mr. Nord had called the army in, as
the raiders had commenced to ransack his big store. As Mr.
Nord also handles liquor, these were the first items to fall
into the hands of the raiders. When asked why they did the
reading they said they were hungry. They didn't explain
their thirst though.
David Plett, P. K. Reimer and Jacob Hein were anxiously
waiting for us to return. A man had seen the suspicious load
and told those at the truck that he'd be back with the other
Voys to help unload. These men were the raiders.
Looting taking place at the Brodies Department Store. Although
looters claimed to be hungry, stoves, hardware and even electrical re-
frigerators were carried away. A crowd of several thousand took part.
Meanwhile, we arrived at Nord's store and found that
the army had its headquarters here equipped with field tele-
phones etc. We explained to the sergeant here in what position
we were with our produce, and if they would send guards
to protect the truckload of produce while moving to the
marketing board. This they did. They sent two soldiers.
Mr. P. D. Reimer and myself now had to go to the mar-
ketin'g board to arrange for the truck's unloading. This was
another couple of hundred yards further, and as we had
only our regular oxfords, the muck was reaching half way
up to our knees. Other people were doing the same, for we
had just met the Colonial Sec., Mr. Porcher walking in the
same manner and this gave us enough courage to hustle
along. At the marketing board everything was in a turmoil,
as they were cleaning soaked rice and other soaked
goods out of their warehouse.
In the meantime, the situation at the truck was getting
tenser. As one native came close by he noticed the load of
produce, and said he'd go tell the boys (meaning the raiders)
and they'd be right over to help with the unloading of the
This gave our men at the truck a cold chill along the spine,
for it meant trouble. We expected the raiders now any mi-
nute but instead two sentries came and walked straight to our
trek. They said they were there to take us through to the
marketing board. We were much relieved, but even with the
soldiers on our truck they had to come to a stop on the way,
on areaMt of a mob not wanting to give way. With the sent-
ries' ammand however, we were soon rolling along again
-and son reached the place at Nord's where the army was
We were surprised to find the truck there so soon upon
-ou return from the marketing board but felt much relieved
Ijt the same. We were now contemplating what best to do
-lnct the marketing board would not be ready until this after-
Ban a.nd the army itself was in need of supplies. We de-
-ides~ to wait until the marketing board opened but then
-Vthe bulk of the soldiers were breaking up for some other
-iesr We now left abruptly for the Marketing Board and with
8 little waiting, found w, could now unload our goods. Al-
though we received only a receipt for the load, we were
.;g,3y relieved with the load off our hands.
As we were making ready to leave, a kind old gentle-
mAn siasd us to take some supplies back to the Shell sta-
-tion, where he said he had a boat waiting. This we did, but
before we were gone another errand was waiting for us to
be dos, They very kindly asked us to get three bales of
lthfing from the Y.W.C.A. which was nearly a mile away on
i' : i ,if -M[
ON SEA SIDE
Tatking to the town mayor, Mr. Wesley, left, The First Minister,
ftntre, who was making private visits to distressed people. This partic-
lart house is a complete loss.
Cleaning up after the bulldozer. Flat tires on cars were a common
scene as nails and other debris on the roads were hard to remove.
the Corozal road. One of the women went along to do the
business part of it, and show the way. It was quite trouble-
some to find a clear road through as one street we turned
in had a vat standing on the street as well as a house lying
on its side. We had to back out and take the next street
which had already been cleared by bulldozer.
Coming to the Y.W.C.A. we saw a long row of people
waiting for food. Since we had to wait for the lady to re-
turn with the bundles of clothing, a native woman came along
and told us to give her a chicken (we still had not got rid
of our live chicken). She begged us but had no money. We
decided to give her a chicken. No sooner had I done this,
then a crowd started gathering fast at the back of the truck,
and I handed out chickens as fast as my son-in-law could
I now started throwing them into the crowd because I
did not want to hurt the peoples' feeling. This however left
.., T I
Open season on lost belongings take home what you find. Rubbish
filled the streets after the water left the streets. In most cases you
had to see to believe the awful damage.
- ME"= I
This bleak scene was photographed from the Mennonite Centre
looking over North Front Street towards the northwest. Across the
canal In the left centre stands the Belize electric power building, com-
pletely stripped of its roof.
(Photo by Mrs. Chester Delinger)
it more up to them and the chicken. The crowd was now no: less
then five deep at the back of the truck. It was all I could
do to keep people from climbing over the side of the truck.
The first crate of chickens was gone and we told them there
were to be no more as we wanted to keep the rest.
By this time the bundles of clothing were being brought
and we were soon ready to go back to the Mennonite Center,
where we now washed our feet, shoes and socks and dried
them out as well as we could. As the day was now fast dy-
ing, we took the route home by way of the airport so we
could mail our letters. The post office was still nailed shut
when we left Belize. As we got out beyond Boom ferry we
could spend our first dimes for a drink on the trip. You
couldn't buy a thing in Belize because they just didn't use
currency for dealing.
Melinda Forest Station
A report by Richard Tolman
We had been stationed here, at our new Forest Station
at Melinda Forest Reserve near Stann Creek just recently
frem England, and were quite new yet when the big blow
came. We had not got attached to our surroundings as yet
and were by no means aclimatized. The weather was very
hot and the air humid, when on Oct. 30 a little after 2
p.m. we heard the news of Hurricane Hattie heading towards
'British Honduras, probably to some northern district. We still
had all the hopes that the hurricane would pass us up,
when later at night we got word over the radio that it was
actually lined up for British Honduras. Still, indications were
tbat it would strike north of Belize.
As a stiff breeze started blowing shortly after 8 p.m.
on Oct. 30 however, we did not feel so sure whether this
was not attached to Hurricane Hattie. All afternoon the low
hanging clouds sailed over our heads, moisture laden, bring-
ing nmoe humid air as they accumulated all around us -
with each hour the breeze grew stiffer. We had been
nailing : few windows shut in case the storm should move
in line for Stann Creek.
Shortly after midnight the storm moved into a gale-like
velocity as trees started to tumble down, and houses started
cracking and the roofing of houses rattled. When a new gust
of storm came, one or the other pieces of roofing sailed off
over our heads from our 90 ft. bungalow, which stood about
-9 ft. high on stilts but was partly arranged for living down-
tairi: too. It must have been near 3 a.m. when we saw our
native neighbours running towards our house with five chil-
dren ranging from two to 13 years of age. They were in-
deed a pitiful sight to see. Soaked and frightened, they hud-
dled inside the door of our house. They had evidently lost
all hope that their house could be saved from the raging
Mt.the storm gained momentum, our neighbour soon sug-
gsted that we go downstairs. Not knowing what next to do
we took his advice as if he had been our leader for years.
We huddled close to the middle of the room near the bath
room, away from the storm as much as we could, as we
didn't care to get wet needlessly. All this time the house
had been shaking and groaning which made us feel giddy.
And we had not managed to stay dry whilst going down-
stairs, as rains were coming in horizontally and mostly being
whipped around each corner by the terrific gale increasing
at every new gust of storm. As it was dark we could hear
each fresh squall as it neared our building. Although we some-
times felt like fleeing, we did not know whereto, especially
as the last squall that hit us shook the house at its moor-
ing. We were very much frightened. It was only a matter
of minutes till the next blast was coming along and the
trees bent their bows down nearly to the ground. Others
were giving up completely and tumbling over helplessly. We
were now hushing t: the center wall as the wcrld didn't
seem to care for us anymore and all turned black and
The next thing I noticed I found myself lying flat
with face downward with nothing to see nor hear except
the terrible howling of the storm some place above us. I
called to my young wife and above my expectation she answer-
ed just beside me, I stretched out my hand and found her.
My one foot was pinned down and was giving me some
pain and anxiety. With the help of my wife we got the
leg free and I started groping around for some object to
help me make a hole in the floor to get out. We could now
hear the whimpering of some of the native children, a little
further away and this urged me the more to get out. In
a little while I had managed to get a hole in the floor
above me big enough to crawl through and two of the chil-
dren also managed to crawl to safety.
During this time the storm had abated abruptly, and
all was calm. As soon as the children were free I sent them
for help while I stood guard and tried to open up more
space so that the rest could get out. The father of the na-
tive children and his 13 year old daughter remained pinned
down. God had taken care of us. An English-made wash-
tub about 14 inches high on which the house had fallen,
held the floor from coming down completely, and had evi-
dently saved our lives.
It took us about an hour with the rescuers help to get the
13 year old girl and father out. The girl had a fractured arm
above the elbow and father otherwise sustained bruises. But
where were the other two small children?
Already one was being taken out, apparently lifeless, and
the other one was found near the first. Both had been
pinned down on the body and no life remained in the small
We and our rescuers hurried to one of the rescuers'
houses for shelter as the gale was upon us as at the turn
of a hand, and rain and storm came lashing down anew.
We now knew that it only had been the center of the storm
and had given us just a little time to get out of the storm
and wreckage to our new shelter.
After the storm had blown itself out, it was daylight
ad the whole area looked deserted. We could look deep
rto the hills where before the storm a big forest had been
standing. Now only white sticks were sticking their long poles
up to show where a few hours before a green forest stood.
Soon after daybreak we went to see our house, only
to find a heap of wreckage. The bedroom remained almost
intact and had we only remained in bed, we would have
suffered no special harm except a good wetting.
At the Forest station, the weather barometer registered
208 miles .per hour when the instrument failed.
Aid Poura In
(taken from British Honduras news clippings)
Apart from the immediate relief aid that was sent during
the first crucial weeks after the Hurricane in personnel, me-
dical supplies and food, funds have been opened in many
jpats:of the world for rehabilitation work in British Honduras.
So far, according to Press and radio reports the follow-
ing grants and donations have been made:
The United Kingdom $40,000 (To launch the fund)
The United States of America 428,000; The Jamaica Glean-
-er Fund 85,000 (last report); The Government of Mauritus
- 10,000; The Government of Bermuda 20,000; Church of
Scotland (Through Br. Council of Churches) 2,000; Inter-
church Aid and Refugee Service Department of Br. Council of
Churches 20,000; Pope John XXIII 2,000.
Thire are many other sources which have contributed
and are still contributing of which no definite figures have
bhenA heard of. As soon as we receive these they will be pub-
lished ft the British Honduras.
British and U. S. Governments sent cash aid
The British Government allotted B.H. $40,000 and Ameri-
can Government U.S. $300,000 for immediate aid to British
Honduras when news of destruction caused to British Hon-
duras by Hurricane Hattie reached abroad.
It is believed that the assistance now reaching this coun-
try in the form of food, clothing and other materials from
these Governments have been paid for from these allocations.
Fort Myers, Florida Comes
To B.H. Aid
by Robert Taylor, November 16, 1961
The people of Fort Myers, Florida have made generous
contribution to British Honduras during the Hattie emer-
gency. These people, who were badly hit by Hurricane Donna
on September 10, 1960, immediately sensed the disaster which
had come to us, and they teamed up to help what they
called "their neighbors in Belize, British Honduras".
Relief aid got started through the efforts of Mr. Bill
E. Facey of B. H. who got in touch with Bill J. Williams
a Fort Myers businessman who made a number of trips to
B. H. last year.
To date, they have sent here more than three plane loads
of clothing, medical supplies and other much needed mater-
ials, amounting to 18 tons. All materials sent to British Hon-
duras were transported free of charge through the kind ges-
'ture of Air Tropic International Airlines' president, Bob
Immediately after it was known that Hattie had struck
British Honduras, the people of Fort Myers started organi-
zing through the efforts of T.V. station W.I.N.K. and News
Press, which had its headquarters at St. Mary's Anglican
Church. Once the drive was started, citizens started responding
Edward Simpson, Mayor of Fort Myers, in an initial
speech launching the drive expressed what he called "warm
feeling to our neighbors."
Representing the Fort Myers community on trips to Be-
.lize were Chad Wiltshire, Bud Williams, Cliff Head, Bill Wil-
-fUm and Fr. R. Saxton Walte.
Wilteshire and Head took pictures of Belize and the coun-
try for television purposes in the United States.
The Fort Myers effort is a contribution solely by the
people and has nothing to do with any Government agency.
Wallboard arrives from Guatemalan Government
Belize City, Nov. 24, On Thursday the Guatemalan
Consul General, Sr. Horacio Arroyave, brought to Belize, in
the name of his Government, the first quantity of the 3,000
sheets that were urgently needed to complete the houses
for refugees at Hector Creek.
Arriving with the shipment, the Consul expressed the
heart-felt greetings of his government along with their "fra-
ternal offering of elements of shelters which can protect your
children from the cold and winds of the season.".
The Consul has offered to intercede with his Government
to send materials needed to build a new city which would
be a safeguard against the natural elements.
Mexican Plane Missing
(from the Belize Times)
A Mexican airforce plane described as a two-engined sil-
ver-grey Beachcraft, is reported missing. Anyone seeing the
plane, which bears the Number B4-1508, is asked to contact
the nearest police station.
Britain Thanks Mexican Gov't For Help to Belize
Belize Times November 15, 1961
Belize City, Dec. 7, 1961 Britain has thanked the Mexi-
can Government for help they gave to Belize after the hur-
ricane, and at the same time expressed sympathies for the loss
of the Beachcraft plane which crashed on a mission of mercy
to this country.
Thanks went to Mexico through the British Ambassador,
Sir Peter Garran.
The Embassy in Mexico has also announced that a fund
has been started here in aid of hurricane victims in Belize.
CARE Sends Aid
Mr. George E. Brady, an official of the Co-operative for
American Relief Everywhere (C.A.R.E.) arrived in Belize City
on Saturday afternoon with 1,200 blankets donated by the
American people for hurricane relief victims. The blankets
are to be distributed among the refugees to be housed at
the temporary shelters at Hector Creek.
Mr. Brady, who runs the CARE office in Honduras, arrived
in the Capital shortly after the hurricane, and after talks
with the Premier, the Hon. George Price, returned to San
Pedro Sula to purchase the much needed blankets.
He said that other CARE offices in Guatemala and Pana-
ma had sent supplies of milk, corn meal, and tea. Mr. Brady
will stay in the Capital until Wednesday to check on the
distribution of the blankets and to make a study of what
further help his organization can give to the Government
of Belize. He will return to New York and make a report
on his findings.
Guatemalan Govt's. Help Recognized
(Belize Times Press November 28)
Belize City, Nov. 15 Official recognition of the in-
valuable and humane actions of the Guatemalan Govern-
ment and their representatives in Belize during the Hurri-
cane Emergency operations has been made through the Bri-
tish Legation in Guatemala to the President, Gen. and Engi-
neer Miguel Ydigoras Fuentes, and also from the English
Authorities in Belize to the Guatemalan Consul General and
According to informed sources the Guatemalan authori-
ties have been offering relief measures to the people of Belize
on a daily basis after the hurricane.
Eight hours after the hurricane, two planes from Guate-
mala flew over Belize, a Douglas of the Aviatea and a
C-47 of the Airforce Hospital. The Airforce Hospital had sent
first five doctors and three nurses specialized in emergency
work and equipped with 40,000 anti-tetanus and anti-typhoid
Last Tuesday evening two more planes of the Airforce
brought food that was immediately taken over by the Army
at the Airfield in Belize.
Then on Thursday, at the request of the Consul General
four more planes were sent. These planes brought more food
and medicines and also the following personnel 10 doctors,
5 nurses, 10 firemen (ten tons of food and five tons of medi-
cine). This mission was then led by the brother of the pre-
sent Consul General, Dr. Francisco Jose Arroyave. Along came
also Capt. Palomo as the representative of the Minister of
Defense of Guatemala, Col. Peralta Azurdia, who was recent-
ly appointed in a special Decree to be the Guatemalan Help
and Protection during the emergency.
Two boats have sailed from Puerto Barrios to Stann
Creek transporting construction material, zinc, lumber, nails,
carpenters and technical personnel, along with jeeps and two
Canada Sends Aid
(Belize Times November 16, 1961 B.B.)
Canada sent a plane load of blankets, clothing, medical
and Red Cross supplies last week to assist the people of
British Honduras in recovering from Hurricane Hattie.
Arriving from Canada were Miss Anna Fuller, British
Honduran resident in Canada, Mr. Fred Cervantes, a British
Honduran in the Canadian Airforce, Mr. Albert Batten, Cana-
dian Red Cross Representative to B.H., Mr. J. W. Hill, a
Canadian surveyor attached to the B.H. Survey Dept.
Barclays Bank Donates $20,000
Nov. 28, B.B.
Barclays Bank, D.C.O. has donated $20,000 to the British
Honduras Hurricane Appeal fund in London, according to a
released by the local bank manager, Mr. C. F. T. Tame.
-Serving as a co-member of the Appeals Committee is
thCaiChairman of Barclays Bank, Mr. Crosley, along with Sir
A:Ea Burns, former Governor of British Honduras, Mr. Gar-
natt Gordon, High Commissioner of The West Indies, Bri-
tish Honduras, British Guiana, and many others.
Unilever Donates $4,000 to Hurricane Fund
Unilever, Ltd., manufacturers of soap and other products
have donated $4,000 B.H. to the Hurricane Appeal Fund op-
.ad' in London, it was learned yesterday.
James Brodie's and Co., Ltd. are local agents for Unilever
U.S. Professor Starts "Hattie" Relief Drive
Professor Frank Kalmbach, an American who has spent
several months in British Honduras since 1952 doing research
work on this country, has organized a Hurricane Hattie Re-
lief Drive in Lake Charles, Louisiana, to help bring relief
tixWthe people in British Honduras who suffered during Hurri-
cane Hattie according to newspaper reports.
.Professor Kalmbach announced Monday that he had
collected so far, almost 2,000 pounds of clothing which he
has already sent to Belize.
The Professor is making his drive through a series of
lectures to groups and organizations in the Lake Charles area.
Along with the lectures Professor Kalmbach is showing colour
slide pictures entitled "Belize As It Used To Be" The pic-
tures were taken over the last three years.
The drive is being conducted with the aid of the St.
qharles Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Y.W.C.A. and a
BteT.ef Drive Headquarters which he has set up at 108 W.
Claude -St. Lake Charles.
Red Cross Announcement
As there seems to be some misunderstanding concerning
the distribution of mattresses, blankets, clothing and other
comforts, the Red Cross issues the following statement:-
For the purpose of ensuring coverage of all Belize, a
Welfare Committee on which representatives of Churches are
included, has been set up in each of the five electoral divisions.
'*:Each Committee is responsible for house to house visit-
ing iin: its own area, and to date it is estimated that 5' '. of
the city has been covered.
Visitors have been instructed to assess the needs and
report accordingly, this means that ration cards are not neces-
sarily the pass to get clothes or blankets.
The Red Cross wishes to emphasize the fact that these
Committees are only acting as a channel for the distribu-
tion of relief supplies which come to Red Cross through the
generosity of well wishers in other countries, as well as
supplies paid for by the Government. For this reason the
supplies available must be divided as fairly as possible on the
basis of the greatest help to the greatest need, and not as
a universal right.
NCWC Aids In Hurricane Relief
Belize City, Nov. 25, 1961 The Catholic Presbytery in
Belize has turned over supplies received from the National
Catholic Welfare Conference to the Government Relief pool.
NCWC has been sending a great deal of supplies for
the hurricane victims of this country. Up to date 1,000 lb.
of blankets, 90,000 lbs. of powdered milk have been sent.
At present in the harbour is a cargo ship which brought
5,320 bags of flour each containing fifty pounds. From the
first week after the hurricane, the NCWC informed His Lord-
ship, Rev. R. L. Hodapp, Bishop of Belize, that a large quan-
tity of relief supplies would be shipped immediately. The
Bishop had returned to Belize City after hearing the disaster.
Editor, Belize Times,
Sir: Please convey my deepest feelings of sympathy to the
people of Belize City who suffered in the fury of Hurricane
Hattie. We have seen pictures of the wreckage on TV and
heard the news over the radio the situation must indeed
Sylvia Watt (Montana, U. S. A.)
Aid And Donations
(taken from newspaper clippings in the British Honduran,
printed in Jamaica by the Daily Gleaner)
A little over one week after the storm a portion of the city
of Belize was serviced by a direct supply of electricity from
the plant on Magazine Road.
The Electricity Board linesmen and electricians have
been working feverishly to restore power to the streets of
the City and then private homes.
Superintendent Eugene Robinson was very hopeful of
being able to have the whole city lit by Christmas.
Two of the Termo-electric engines are now back in opera-
tion and as soon as lines can be repaired and lamp posts
straightened, more of the city will be receiving power.
The work being carried out by the staff of the board
is exemplary of the marvellous spirit of hard work to
restore the city to normal as being shown by the people in
Canada Gives Aid
Canada is to give $106,800.00 British Honduras worth of aid
to hurricane victims. This was announced by the Prime Minis-
ter of Canada, Mr. Diefenbaker, according to the Guardian-
Journal, of Nottingham England.
Jamaican Company gives 5000 bags cement
The Carribean Cement Company Limited has made
through the Government of Jamaica a gift of 5000 bags of
Cement for use by the Government of British Honduras in
the reconstruction and repair of the damage done to that
country by Hurricane Hattie.
This announcement was made yesterday by Sir William
Stephenson, Chairman of the Company.
Offer of this gift was made to the Premier of Jamaica,
the Honourable Norman Manley, M.M.Q.C., in a letter sent
yesterday on Sir Williams behalf by Mr. George Macduff,
Managing Director of the Carribean Cement Company. The
c.if. value of the cement is 2,180 pounds. This gift is intended
to be part of Jamaica's effort to assist the British Honduras
Government. Wrote Mr. Macduff, "Since the advent of the
disastrous hurricane which struck British Honduras on the
morning of Oct. 31, Sir William Stephenson, our chairman,
has been active in instituting discussions on what we could
do to help your Government in its endeavors to assist the
British Honduras Government.
After careful consideration, Sir William has asked me to
make on his behalf a gift of 5000 bags of cement for use
by that Government to assist in the reconstruction and repair
of damage due to the hurricane.
We anticipate that British Honduras will, probably, not
be able to arrange for storage at the present time. Accordingly
we suggest that the necessary shipping arrangements (the
cost of which the Company is prepared to meet) should be
made by us in collaboration with the Governor's Secretary
whom, we understand, is co-ordinating supplies to British
Under-Secretary of State for the Colonies, Hon. Hugh
Frazer, last week Thursday replied to questions in the House
of Commons concerning the situation in British Honduras
after the devastation of Hurricane Hattie.
Mr. Fraser said as far as he had seen, the cost of immediate
measures taken will be not less than $3,200,000 and it may
well be more.
But until the report of the team of specialists presently
in British Honduras to examine and advise on measures of
rehabitation, there can be no finalization about plans for re-
building Belize, where it is clear that a nucleus of a town
still exists, Mr. Fraser said.
In his reply, Mr. Fraser spoke of the impressive progress
made in providing immediate relief to the people whose
homes had been destroyed and in re-establishing essential
services such as water and electricity.
"It is a great credit to all concerned that so much has
already been achieved only three weeks after such a wide-
spread disaster" he said.
And he added, "I would like to pay special tribute to the
armed services and civil administration, under the admirable
leadership of the Governor, Sir Colin Thornley, and his
Ministers, to the United States Navy, to the Red Cross and
lastly to the government of Jamaica for its great help and
for its coordination of relief measures".
Extracts From Government
Bermuda Legislature Sends Financial Assistance
His Excellency the Governor, Sir Colin Thornley, has
ai a, telegram to the Governor of Bermuda asking him to
twavey to the Bermuda Legislature the very grateful thanks
of the government and people of British Honduras for their
generous gesture in voting $20,000 for relief of the distress
caused by the hurricane. The money is being sent to Barclays
iBaas to be credited to the British Honduras Hurricane
M9 nites Help:
The 'Mennonite Communities in British Honduras are
hoping in the rehabilitation work. M.D.S. has sent a team of
carpenters. plumbers, from U. S. and Canada and other tech-
nicians to the capital to undertake whatever duties they may
terchanis asked To Clear Goods From Customs:
AZ iterchants who are now in a position to restart
trading and who had goods consigned to them which were
awaiting collection from the Customs warehouses before the
Shuri=a-e, or who have reason to believe that such goods
have arrived since, are urged by government to get in touch
t -Se '-with the appropriate shipping agent and to arrange
for the survey and collection of their goods as soon as possible.
It is of the greatest importance that all warehouses be
eared'-with the shortest possible delay in order that normal
offloading and clearance procedures can be resumed as soon
Overseas Director Praises Local Red Cross Workers:
Miss Joan Wittington, Director of Overseas Red Cross
Branches, who is now in British Honduras said in an inter-
vif yesterday with a B. H. B. S. correspondent that the
deastistion caused by Hurricane Hattie is the worst she has
ever seen in her life. It is even worse than the damage
caused by the air raids during the war, said the Red Cross
Director, who flew out of the United Kingdom to this country
to direct operations.
Asked about her opinion of the work being done by the
local Red Cross Branch, Miss Wittington said: "Absolutely
superb. The units have been working constantly since the first
day after the storm. Many of them were on duty during the
storm at shelters and they started kitchens as soon after
Miss Wittington has been to Stann Creek which she dis-
cribed as even worse than Belize City. But the Red Cross is
doing a splendid job, she added, and the members are in
Apart from manning three Red Cross Kitchens, the or-
ganization is in charge of all clothes distribution. At the kit-
chens some 2,600 people are being fed daily. The distribution
of blankets is also the responsibility of the Red Cross.
On her return from Stann Creek, Miss Wittington had to
come by way of Burell Boom. The river was flooded and she
and others with her had to wade through muddy water which
was waist high for about half a mile.
Public Urged To Get Second Anti-Typhoid Injection
The Public Health Authorities remind the public that
iyphoid is a very dangerous and unpleasant disease. Under
the existing insanitary condition an outbreak of this disease
is still a threat. In spite of this very precarious position there
are many who have not yet received their second innoculation
against typhoid. If an epidemic should occur at this time,
only those people who have had the full course of the anti-
typhoid injections will be fully protected. The public is there-
fore urged to get their second anti-typhoid injection now.
IV W E, 1. 1 IV- 19 la
Thia-ts the Barclays Bank building in the background where many
p. t, to.k refuge during the hurricane. This is looking over the
ral Park Area. In the foreground are citizens looking for something
valuable or useful perhaps.
to go. Jo one he felt, cared for him anymore. And then he
pleada "please inista, can't you halp me"? We went to
sie what was left of his house. It sure wasn't much to start
'f ti rebuild, no roof, the posts and a lot of the siding
missing. twisted and split. I promised him we would try. I took
my.eltlow workman to see it. They wondered if I thought they
coua, perform a miracle as they didn't think so. But we
-imas- liveable house out of it again, but was the man
thauldal? He had to cry when he said God bless you, and
thi i~ ou, God bless you, God bless you, thank you.
Some of the jobs seemed so impossible and my men had
td-sihaein -the pathetic story behind the scene in order to h,
ilasirtd sifficenLly to undertake some of the j- 'b. One job
was to fit a two storey house which was leaning almost to a
45 d&aree at one end, no roof, and most of the windows out.
ItM e~ ffts posts flat in the mud.
BELIZE RESIDENTIAL AREA
This ri'al photo of a residential area in Belize, taken by Doug
KerIBmly of the Miami Herald, speaks for itself. Hattie's fury wiped
the roofs off houses and even pushed them over. It was miraculous
that thij death rate wasn't higher than it was.
Barclays Bank overlooking Central Park, Belize, before Hurricane
The lady stopped me and asked. "mista, can you please
help me to fix my house back". I took a look at the house, and
frankly couldn't see how we could. She started like this, you
see, she said, "I wash for a living, my husband has deserted me
and I have 7 small children to support, I get $3.50 B.H. cur.
relief, and I have no money. Can't you please help me? Every-
body else has turned me down." As my men saw the job they
too thought it was beyond our ability to restore it again.
The case was before them, and they felt we should at least
try, and so we did. Now she h-s a house with roof and will
soon be able to use it, although it's still bare without furniture
or anything to put in it. But to see the gratitude of this
woman, more then pays for the extra trouble we had. These
are the people we are aiming to help, these who are down
and stay down unless someone gives them a lift.
One more story. It is nearing the time for us to go back
home. Yet, the work, it seems has just begun as far as the
real need for housing repairs among the poor. This lady was
told we could not take up any more jobs but she would not
take no for a last answer. Her story went something like this.
"I have an invalid husband, and seven children, five live
with me and two are in government school. I live in a court
alley. Please come over and see where I live. Won't you please
build me a little house?"
Some one has leased her the lot and we found a little
hovel, made of scrap zinc roofing to keep off rain. It was
five feet wide, eight feet long and six feet high. This is what
she and five children called home. What should I do? I took
several of my men to see the house, and they agreed that
something should be done. We built her house. I required
her to get in writing form, that the owne: would give her
the right to build on his property. Which she did, and we or-
dered the framing in the meantime from the Mennonite colony
Spanish Lookout. We built the sides with metal sides, before
we left for home.
On and on go the stories and one's heart is moved to see
and know the plight and poverty of these people. Some are in-
deed a victim of circumstances, while others are in these
conditions willfully. It takes a keen sense to know just how
much can be done for some of these people.
The people of Belize who are Christians, are truly a wonder-
ful people to be with. They love the same Lord, and are in-
terested in spreading the same Gospel. As I go back to the
States I will never forget Belize and the people of British
(Editorial in The Gleaner, Jamaica)
In the midst of the tragedy of British Honduras there
must be gratitude. Not just the selfish gratitude, which comes
readily to mind, of Jamaica being spared from the devas-
tation of this horrendous hurricane; but the gratitude that
due to the advance of modern science and technology, Bri-
tish Honduras had had sufficient warning to save her people
from what would have been one of the world's greatest
In 1931, flood waters killed 2,500 people when a hurri-
cane and tidal wave struck Belize. Thirty years later when
an even greater storm has struck the city with 20 successive
waves rushing from the sea, fifteen foot high, crashing into
the little town, barely 100 have perished though the city
has been practically destroyed. Fore-warned by science, the
people under a prudent government, had been largely moved
to higher ground and into strong highly elevated buildings
thus to have their lives spared though their city has been
Belize is a low lying city almost at sea level, the com-
mercial centre from which trade in mahogany and pine and
chicle is shipped to the world and to which the rivers bring
their loads of timber from the hinterland. The citizens cling
to it with a fierce pride much no doubt as the brave Ita-
lian mountain dwellers cling to the slopes of the volcano
Vesuvius. It is their home, carved from the original forests
and swamp lands where both land and sea were once fierce
with enemies. But now the shallow plain is clear of timber
as far as the eve can see; the open riding is skirted with
summery cottages on the lovely cays. But all this never-
theless is but a fair weather home; whenever the angry
sea rises, Belize is threatened. Fortunately it has happened
only rarely, but we do believe that now the passion for
the old Belize will be stimulated into a desire to build a
new town, a safe city, to dredge the outer harbours and
raise the level of the land by dumping, which together with
sea walls, could be a safeguard for future citizens.
That however is not for now. The problem now of course
is to bring back to the city, to save the people from pesti-
lence and from the disorders consequent upon the complete
breakdown of all physical assets and property. Prisoners have
had to be let loose, health hazards have been multiplied;
stores of clothing and food, and individual losses, have to
be made good so that life can be preserved. And order has
to be maintained.
And so in this immediate task the Gleaner, with the
consent and support cf the government, has launched a fund
for assistance to the sufferers in Belize, in Stann Creek, in
the out-country and on the cays; for people who have mostly
lost their all and have now to be preserved and be given
the chance to start anew. They will start life anew, with the
courage and comfort which generous aid and assistance from
overseas from their cousin country, Jamaica and from else-
where will furnish in the great sympathy which is the
oneness of the brother-hood of man.
(Editorial in "Christian", London)
Accounts of the enormous damage sustained by much
of British Honduras should make us thankful that in this
country we are spared such visitations. In Belize, the capital,
20,000 out of a total population of 35,000 are homeless, and
the city has been rendered uninhabitable. So great is the
devastation that it is seriously suggested that the capital
should be removed from the coast into the foothills. The
area is threatened with typhoid and other epidemics and
there is great need for food as well as medical supplies. Re-
lief from the United States and Britain is being organized,
and some of it has already reached the area. British Hon-
duras is a poor country and that act has made a special
appeal to charitable people, as well as to the governments.
Tragedy In Honduras
(Editorial in Baptist Times, London)
Poor Belize! News reports and pictures have graphically
described the utter destruction of the capital of British Hon-
duras and of Stann Creek by the 200 miles-an-hour Hurri-
cane Hattie. With hundreds of people reported dead and
thousands homeless the little Colony must begin again to
rebuild its life. Even the rubble and wreckage in Belize was
"pulverized", wrote one correspondent. Aid on a massive scale
will be needed, not just to meet the immediate emergency,
but to provide a new capital, houses, hospitals, churches and
Hurricane In Honduras
(Editorial in Catholic Times, London)
Once again, British Honduras and its capital, Belize have
been devastated by a hurricane. The country is poor. Its
people are good. Under an able Catholic Chief Minister,
George Price, steady progress is being made towards self-
rule, and eventual independence. Now, disaster has come on
'a terrible scale to those who, in any event, have only too
-little cf this world's goods to support them.
One can but hope and pray that relief will come very
quickly and that the authorities concerned in this country
will make every effort to give effective assistance in the
shape of grants in aid to the economy of this poor country,
which has been torn up by the roots and devastated in a
matter almost of minutes.
Lord Listowel Asks About B. H. in the British Honduran
In the House of Lords last week, in answer to a ques-
tion from Lord Listowel, the Earl of Perth. Minister of State,
Colonial Affairs said it would be a long time before it would
be possible to make any assessment of the damage to proper-
ty caused by the hurricane.
Lord Listowel asked if the Government was satisfied
all steps were being taken to prevent the outbreak of epi-
demics. He also asked if, since it seemed unlikely Belize
City would be reconstructed on its old site, the Government
would consider aiding the rebuilding of the capital.
Lord Perth said he was satisfied about the provision of
medical personnel and supplies. The Jamaica Government
was informing London what was wanted.
It was a little early to give any answer about the re-
building of Belize, but that would be in the Government's
mind in relation to all else that had happened.
Here and There
(An Appeal) Reports about discourteous vehicle drivers
on the muddy streets are so numerous that I appeal to them
to be more considerate of pedestrians. I saw one merciless
driver splatter a woman pushing a baby pram, from head to
foot with mud.
2.098 Still Taking Refuge
(From The Belize Billboard)
Two thousand and ninety eight homeless persons are still
housed in the buildings in which they sought refuge from
Hurricane Hattie, according to a census taken at refuge cen-
tres last week by Boy Scout Master Fitzroy Lemott.
According to the Census there, 37 people at America
Club, 16 at the Agricultural Credits Office, 57 in the third
floor of Barclays Bank and 65 in the second floor, 76 at
the Colonial Band Association, 63 at City Council, 36 at Eden
Cinema, seven at the Fire Station, 50 at the Fort George
Hotel, 119 at Harvey Hall, 35 at Kingdom Hall, 88 at Liberty
Hall, 61 at the Legislative Assembly Chamber, 114 at the
Mercy Conv2nt, 48 at the Nazarene Church, 192 at Paslow
Building, 12 at the Pallotti Convent, 223 at St. Ignatius, 182
at St. Mary's, 94 at St. Joseph, 94 at Technical C3llege, 198
at Wesley Schools, 34 at Wesley College, 66 at Princess Royal
Youth Hostel, 73 at the Y. W. C. A.; 32 at the Havana Hotel,
14 at the Housing and Planning Department, and seven at the
Chief Secretary's Office.
Today and Tomorrow
(by Reginald Brooks)
Many people have heard of the activities and exploits
of the heroes of the hurricane in high and low places
- but little has been said about the heroines who played
their part, perhaps with even a greater degree of sacrifice
and disregard for personal safety than the men.
And these heroines, for the most part were concentrated
at the Belize Hospitali, here, as nurses, they braved the fury
of the hurricane to save the lives of the patients under
their care. So successful were their efforts, that not even a
life was lost.
Hurricane Hattie struck the hospital with all its fury,
and destroyed all of the 16 wards, except one. But as the
wards gave way, the nurses and doctors made superhuman
efforts to huddle their patients into a safe ward, sometimes
only to evacuate it after that too, collapsed.
When I saw the state in which the hurricane had left
the hospital, I refused to believe that it was possible to have
saved bed-ridden patients who were there during the hurri-
cane, so I had a talk with Dr. Boleslaw Markowski, Super-
intendent of the Hospital, and he confirmed that no one was
hurt but he refused to. comment much on the matter.
But he gave high praise to the Nursing staff as a whole,
whose efforts he said helped to save the lives of th:ir patients.
As a civil servant, Dr. Markowski was reserved when
I spoke to him, but his whole demeanour seemed to me to
express admiration and pride in the accomplishment of the
It would be a pity if the public services beyond the call
of duty, rendered by the nurses during the hurricane are not
publicly recognized. And it is my hope that an investigation
will soon be made to find out what the Hospital Staff did
during the hurricane and full recognition be given to the
persons responsible for the excellent job done in the Hospital
to save the lives of patients.
News And Briefs
(from Belize and surrounding areas after Hurricane Hattie)
Dead Body of Child Found
(Belize City, December 7, 1961)
The body of a twelve-year-old girl was discovered par-
tially decomposed on Tuesday evening by working men at
the saw mill yard in Belize City. The child was identified as
Her body was burnt on the spot yesterday morning.
According to reports, Sonia Bradley was related to Jack
Arnold and Elizabeth Lamb, who perished in the hurricane
last month. Their bodies had been discovered later.
Body Found 12 Days After Hattie
The body of Mr. Joseph Reneau an old resident of Wag-
ner's Lane was taken from under his house Sunday morning
twelve days after Hattie struck Belize.
It was reported that Mr. Reneau had locked himself up
in the portion of the house he occupied on the night of Hattie
and when a neighbour had called to him asking to be let
in he replied that he was already locked in and was not
opening his door.
After hearing that his father had been missing Otis
Reneau a resident of Chicago came to Belize and along
with others discovered his father's dead body.
Man, 69, Survives On Cay For Seventeen Days
(Stann Creek Belize Times November 25)
Sixty-nine-year-old Mr. Josiah Harris survived on Mid-
dle Cay for seventeen days after Hurricane Hattie. Mr. Harris
arrived in Stann Creek on the 18th of November.
While on the Cay his only food was young coconuts
said Mr. Harris, and he had to live in over two feet of
water. The old caretaker of Middle Cay said that he had
patched up a dory and went to Long Cay. Of the three
houses which were standing at Long Cay, none are now
Mr. Harris has been living on the Cay since 1955.
Belize Times November 25
Civil Government Still In Power
No Martial Law Enforced Governor
(Belize City, November 14)
The civil government cf the People's United Party is
still the authoritative government of the country and the
-w' ) 4-
Sentries guard a food queue. It wasn't much of a meal they had
yesterday but perhaps they will be able to get something better in four
hours or so. It is good to know that foreign relief organizations care
and send supplies.
naval and military forces now operating in the country are
only here in aid of the civil government, according to Sir
Colin Thornley, Governor of Belize Country.
The Governor has made this statement to correct any
misunderstanding that may exist. He also said that martial
law is not, and has never been imposed on the country
during this emergency, only a curfew is in force.
Government Ministries are now engaged in re-establish-
ing the normal activities cf the departments under their
control. Belize Times.
Today and Tomorrow
by Reginald Brooks
While distribution of food and clothing is being carried
out with efficiency now, and the Police and Volunteer Guard
are doing an excellent job of keeping order in the long
queues, there is one observation which I would like to make
with regard to repeated reports I have been given.
Policemen are human beings as much as any other
citizen and they have suffered as much, if not more than
most citizens. As such they are entitled to receive as much
consideration, as far as their families are concerned, as any
citizen. Yet, it is apparent that Policemen, who do not have
the time to line up the queues, and who cannot give their
families the attention they should be given, are being treated
as mere cogs in the massive wheels of the Emergency
One cannot blame the Policemen for the inner bitter
feelings they have, which they cannot outwardly express,
and taking into consideration the good job they are doing,
I strongly recommend that humane consideration should be
given to them.
800 Seek Refuge In North Districts
(Bill Board November 8)
More than 500 persons from Belize have sought refuge
in Corozal and 310 in Orange Walk, according to a reliable
Occupants of a house without a roof, right, move to higher ground.
Photo was taken in the early hours after the water subsided. As rains
continued for some time after the hurricane, bedding, mattresses, and
clothing were spoiled by the soaking.
Phtows aknin te earl horsaferthewaer usdd.A a
continue fr soe tim aftr thehurricae ednmatess n
clothing ~ ~ ~ ~ weesoldbytesaig
Of the number in Corozal, 434 are receiving aid from
Government in the form of a $2 a week for children under
16. In Orange Walk, aid is being given to the 310 persons
on the szme basis.
But in the last few days, steps have been taken to
lessen the amount of aid given, by stopping allowance to
those who are gainfully employed such as policemen and
their families, and teachers and their families.
5 Children At Corozal Hospital, Parents Unknown
Five children are in the Corozal Hospital whose parents
are unknown, according to a report from Corozal. The chil-
dren are: Marlene Brown, 4 years, from Belize; Dolores Bol, 2
years, believed from Punta Goeda; Alexandra Vasquez, about
eleven months, origin unknown; Sylvester Cal, 3 years,
Cayo Road; and Manuel Mendcz, 5 years, from Stann Creek.
If anyone knows the whereabouts of the parents or
guardians, the children can be contacted at the Corozal
Hospital. Belize Times.
Editorial The Daily Telegram, London
Slowly, life is beginning to pulse again in the stricken
capital of British Honduras. The energy and spirit with which
authorities on the spot are organizing relief are fortified by
the knowledge that help is speeding in from all sides. A
week after the hurricane the full magnitude of the disaster
still cannot be gauged. But the immediate need, as our Special
Correspondent stresses in his message today, is for simple
human succour: for clothing, blankets, food and medical
supplies. This fortunately, is the sort of help that can be
But when the immediate emergency is over and
personal distress has been relieved, Britain will be left with
a long-term duty to see the colony on its feet again. The fact
that is already well on the way to independence makes no
difference to this moral obligation; it will simply mean that
the parting gift from the Mother Country may have to be
more generous. Even without this visitation British Hon-
duras would have needed substantial economic help. Now
the first big task to be faced will be the rebuilding of the
wrecked capital. Destruction has been so nearly complete
that replanning can be undertaken without any inhibition,
even as to the site of the new city. Belize affords neither the
commercial advantage of a deep-water port nor the elevation
that might have saved many lives from seas swept over it
by the hurricane. (The British Honduran)
Sgt. Winston Cox a member of the Jamaican force said
yesterday that the other 55 men here will leave sometime
Sgt. Cox, said he found British Hondurans accepting
law and order in good spirit, and he regretted that they
had to come here at a time when people were passing
through strong emotional crisis.
"We would like to return to meet the people under
normal circumstances." he said.
During the first few days they were in Belize, the Ser-
geant said they had to sleep on the floor under a leaking
roof, but he said his men knew what was happening and
were willing to help the people of British Honduras whom
they found for the most part, a friendly and likeable people.
G.N.F.N. Following Hattie
On Monday last, the severely hit firm of Nord's got
under way with an assorted line of canned goods, medicines,
and materials for clothing.
"We had to reduce our staff because of the bad conditions"
Mr. Charles Nord Jr. said.
"At present, all employees are paid on a weekly basis,"
Mr. Nord denied as ficticious, reports that his firm was
contemplating selling out. "We had plans to operate our
machinery and motor section separately before the hurricane."
Mr. Nord said. "and since the hurricane, Harley's is being
cleared for that purpose."
SIn a bulletin issued to its employees recently, the firm
said: "We are most anxious to do everything in our power
to assist deserving employees in any way we can, but we ask
that our position be not overlooked."
During the interview, Mr. Nord showed confidence in
the ability of the business to bounce back after the disaster,
and he expressed faith in the business' future.
Bata After Hattie
By Robert Taylor
In spite of the fact that the Bata Shoe Store on Albert
Street was completely looted after Hurricane Hattie, the
store was able to open its doors to the public Monday last
with a fair amount of footwear for ladies, men and children.
The Manager, Mr. Chlup said Friday that this was made
possible chiefly through the remarkable cooperation of his
"I am impressed with their work and feel proud of them"
He added that a few of the girls on his staff had left
for the United States since the Hurricane, but he said he
would train some new ones, the Bata way, to ensure that
the high Bata standard is maintained for the benefit of the
B.E.C. Following Hattie
by Robert Taylor
On Monday following Hurricane Hattie, the office staff
of the Belize Estate & Produce Co., got moving with no
Approximately 90 percent of the unloading of relief
supplies were handled by B.E.C. equipment, and included use
of barges, tugs, personnel, supervision, and towage. Meanwhile
about 100 men were employed at the sawmill to do cleaning.
"All the people working during the emergency were
paid the usual rates with overtime pay" Mr. Gordon Roe,
B.E.C. shipping officer said. And he produced pay sheets
to confirm his statement.
And speaking of the damages the Company suffered, the
General Manager, Mr. A. M. Hore said, "We suffered substan-
tial damage, and it will take months to determine its extent.
Even our insurance cannot be cleared yet because of this".
On the question of damages, Mr. V. C. Ackroyd, another
top B.E.C. employee, said damages included the destruction
of pine trees on company's land between Labouring Creek
During the pressing days immediately after the hurricane
Mr. Hore said the company had set up a kitchen on the
lower flat of the office building where company employees
.nnc their families were fed good meals.
B.H.D. Since Hattie
British Honduras distributors, a prominent hardware firm
of 77 North Front St. got back into operation two days after
Hattie with its usual staff all paid at the usual salaries, accord-
ing to Mr. Sonny Fuller the Manager.
"We did not experience much looting" Mr. Fuller said.
"And now that this hurricane has happened we plan to
expand and open a new parts store which will sell parts
and accessories for all types of vehicles."
The Shell Oil Station, a branch of the BHD, got into
operation three days after the hurricane and is selling much
needed kerosene at retail prices every day.
Looking west from Paslow Building over the canal by the swing
bridge just after Hattie. The tidal wave has not yet receded.
Castillo's Ltd. After Hattie
by Robert Taylor
Two days after Hattie, the firm of Santiago Castillo Ltd.
got into operation when thousands of dollars of food were
issued to people from its warehouses.
Immediately after the hurricane, Mr. Castillo commenced
directing his business from his ranch at Orange Walk through
his key men, Clive Tucker, Epifano Castillo and Leo Castillo.
Mr. Castillo who is now back in Belize and settled, said
he now has retail booth selling articles at half price at his
New Road warehouse opposite Ahuja's La Sirena Grocery.
The business, although a wholesale business, has a variety
of articles to offer even at this stage.
Some of the employees are on half pay while others are
receiving full pay. But Mr. Castillo said he had plans to
have everyone on the regular staff as usual as soon as
business picks up.
Government Considering New Capital
A Statement issued by the Government Information
Dept. Monday, states:
The Government is already giving consideration to the
question of establishing a new capital in another part of the
In the meantime, the immediate issues of building ma-
terial available from Government stores will be on a minimal
basis in order to stretch the supplies on hand over as many
people as possible who are in need of protection against the
In view of the consideration which is being given to the
establishing of a new capital elsewhere, the Government
feels that all householders, in their own interests, should
do no more than essential repairs to their buildings at this
(November 10, 1961 Bill Board)
Oldest Firm Closes Doors
Employees of John Harley and Company Ltd. received
their last pay envelope Friday, and inside was a note that the
firm, one of the oldest in Belize, will not reopen again
The note read: "The hurricane and looters, as you
know have cleaned out John Harley and Co. Ltd. and shall
not be going into business again.
In view of this, it is with the greatest regret that this
will be the last payment we shall be able to make to you."
The Hero of Hurricane Hatlie
In a letter to this newspaper Mr. L. D. (Prince Dee)
Kemp had high praise for a man whom he called "The
Hero of Hurricane Hattie."
The man, Arthur Arnold, better known as Banza, was
responsible for saving the lives of 18 persons who were
trapped in what was left of three houses on Euphrates Ave.
and couldn't escape drowning, Mr. Kemp said. Mr. Kemp's
story was backed up by Mr. 'Sunt' Trumbach, who witnessed
Banza's acts of bravery.
Mr. Kemp, and his family who sought refuge at Mr.
Gerald Smith's home on Glynn Street along with the Ashby
family, Mr. 'Sunt' Trumbach's family and others tells the
story in this way:
"With the water rising up to about a few inches from
the floor of the Smith's house about eight feet from the
ground we heard that eighteen persons were in what was
left of three houses on Euphrates Avenue, and could not
"Shortly after a man with a boy of seven or eight years
old on his back was seen trying to swim the 60 or 70 feet to
the Smith's home.
TO SAFER GROUND
Hang on Dearie it won't be long now if only we can make it.
A woman takes her child to higher ground.
(Photo Mrs. C. Dellinger)
Before Hattie this was a one way street but now it could hardly
even be called that. The building will have to be pushed back to again
"With floating debris shooting across most of their path
like battering rams, there were words of prayer in our hearts
that they would make it. After a dive under some debris, there
was a separation, but the boy was active and eventually
they made it. We hauled the boy in through a window and
had a chance to see the rescuer. It was 'Banza.'
'Banza was given a rope which he tied from the Smith's
house to what looked like a certain death trap. But 'Banza',
with the spirit and ability of the finest specimen of native
manhood, made eighteen trips across the death trap and saved
about nine children, two pregnant women and other females.
"At one stage during his adventurous trips across the
rope, 'Banza' caught cramp in the water, but he managed to
pull through, even though a man who tried to go to his aid
couldn't make it.
"Another priceless act cf humanity was Mrs. Gerald's
act of providing clothing for the drenched, frightened and
ragged eighteen and bedding for the night.
"The press should check on this story so tnat the 'Spirit
of Banza' can be a public record."
Caye Caulker's Recovery
Caye Caulker, 20 miles north-east of Belize, near the
Barrier Reef, was swept by 15-foot waves. After the hurricane
only two good houses were left out of over 100. Almost 400
people were homeless and nearly completely wiped out with 14
There were a few more houses numbering about 8
that were also used as refugee centres during the storm
but at best were continually swept by water and badly da-
People were in a complete daze for the next two days
as their grief and sorrow made them seemingly incapable of
dealing with the situation. Meanwhile on the second day in
Belize a fisherman from the Caye arrived in his small boat
where he immediately spread the word among relatives of the
terrible bad, bad, bad disaster there. Upon questioning the
man Mr. Ray Auxillou, an Englishman, residing in Belize,
thought it was necessary to make a trip out to the Caye
and bring back an accurate damage report. He set out, contact-
ing relatives of the people on the Caye and soon a small
party with a 19 ft. runabout and salt water drowned motor
was found. A mechanic from Gordo's worked on the motor
feverishly while gasoline was hunted.
During the hurry and bustle of preparation a visit to
the controlling authority was paid by Auxillou to notify
them of the intention to inspect the needs of the people at
the Caye and the extent of the damage. Controlling authority
turned out to be the Governor who seemed pleased and
offered any help.
Consequently, a small list of food was obtained from the
Marketing Board to be taken out for emergency use. The
food turned out to be too much for the small boat and two
other island sloops were commandeered at the wharf and
the food loaded aboard. The speedboat with Ray Auxillou,
Luis Alamina and Ilna Alamina went ahead to organize the
reception and distribution of food.
Upon arrival the group were met by Constable Bernard
Higinio who was informed by Mr. Auxillou that a State of
Emergency was declared on the Caye and that he would work
under his authority for the time being on direct verbal orders
from the Police Commissioner Bruce Taylor in Belize. A
meeting of the Village Council was held at the J. P.'s house
(best house remaining).
The distribution and plans for rehabilitation were dis-
cussed and after a little time it was decided to leave things
in the hands of the Village Council. However, by the next
morning it was apparent that the shock of disaster and
great loss of everyone made things difficult. The Council
were not reliable to adequately control or agree on what
to do, people were looting and there was no spirit of coopera-
tion. The Constable and Mr. Auxillou therefore called a
public meeting that morning. The terrible situation in which
the hurricane had left the whole country was described
and the situation at the Cayq was reviewed. Mr. Auxillou,
speaking as the Governor's representative, stated he found
it necessary to declare 'Martial Law' on the Caye, and in a
long speech told the people that they could expect hardly
any help from outside, but the best could be attempted, with
He explained how everyone should work together in
cooperation with the Village Council who would control all
operations answerable to him.
Registration groups were formed immediately to list all
people on the Caye, by age, name and family. A list of the
destitute was made; a list of immediate requirements was
The paper work took most of the day. Another meeting
was held that night and "volunteer" conscription was organ-
ised with the motto "no work no food".
Gangs were assigned to the emergency projects in order
of priority. There were the gathering and repairing of all
water vats, erection of temporary shelters and looking after
aid. Five serious hospital cases were sent in by boat to
Belize early the next day.
Upon returning to Belize, a report was given to the
Governor and a list of emergency requirements requested.
These were authorized immediately and Mr. Auxillou's auth-
ority for representing the Governor's Emergency Hurricane
Headquarters was confirmed verbally.
A tough time, even with the Governor's written authority
was experienced in getting materials, as no respect was
shown to the Police guard assigned. It was eventually found
necessary to use two armed soldiers; after this was done things
worked out smoothly.
In two day's time, the Caye had several houses standing
and 19 temporary shelters. Now four weeks later, there are
almost 50 complete houses, and work has stopped only because
materials are lacking. At least 50 houses were swept com-
pletely away to sea.
After ten days Mr. Auxillou passed the authority over
to the Constable through the Governor, still leaving the
Village Council in actual charge of operations, as the emer-
gency crisis was deemed over, and all operations were now
working fairly smoothly. The situation broke down slightly
a few days later for a short time, but went back to normal
again with the Village Council now working in complete
(Stann Creek, November 17)
(E. A. (Kid) Broaster reporting)
Stann Creek: Phillips offshore Oil Drilling Co. had to
halt operations when their rig was wrecked by Hattie.
Two men were stranded for seventeen days on cayes
off Stann Creek following hurricane Hattie. Cipriano Marti-
nez survived on Middle Caye for 17 days on cocoanuts and
a little flour.
His friend Joseph and his dog Joe were stranded on
nearby Long Caye. Joseph said that the first puff of Hattie
took off the roof of his house and a tree fell across the
door. He had to climb out through the top. He lived on
cocoanuts seventeen days until he was rescued by the owner
of Long Caye.
Enrique (Ricky) Robateau was stranded on a small caye
near Triangles for five days without water. He was on his
way to Belize from the offshore drilling rig in Stann Creek
when the hurricane caught him. He was forced to lash himself
to a tree to keep from being washed off the caye. His boat was
wrecked by Hattie. After five days he was picked up by
Helicopter and taken to Stann Creek, then to Belize by the
18 Dead, 23 Missing In Mullins River
(Mullins River, Stann Creek, November 12)
The latest casualty figures from Mullins River indicated
that 18 people are dead and 23 others are listed as missing.
The following are among the dead:
Frances Arnold, Carla Bevans, Cynthia Bernhard, Obenir
Diaz, Josefa Flowers, Geraldine Garcia, Raymundo Jones,
Edith Haynes, Sandra Murillo, Lorna Murillo, Norman
Murillo, Winston Maheia, Garrie Manela, Martha Moare,
Juanita Pandy, Lesser Pandy, Euzine Tabi, and Norma Murillo.
The following people are reported as missing: Mrs. Diza,
Lucille Brown and baby, Doris Bernard, Mary Bernard,
Eugene Brown, Eric Bernard, Steven Bernard, Elizabeth Gar-
butt, Demacia Gonguez, Lloyd Jones, Albert Murillo, Ismay
Maheia, Marie Neal, Laverne Pandy.
Stann Creek Notes
Things are coming back to normal here in Stann Creek
and the people are grateful for all the help we have received.
Special thanks go out to the doctors and nurses from different
countries who worked so hard with the people.
We want to express special thanks also to the soldiers
who were sent to our aid when the entire town was covered
with debris, wiLh their help and under their supervision, the
town was quickly cleared up.
Late last month, some people from the Town, led by
the District Commissioner and the District Representative,
decided on Silk Grass as the site to begin to build again.
Work is now going on at this site and things are arriving
daily. Tents have been erected; a light plant came; and a
warehouse has been built.
Stann Creek Plans To Evacuate 1,000 People
The Stann Creek Disaster Committee has decided to eva-
cuate 1,000 people from Stann Creek to a site at Silk Grass
Creek, some eight miles from town, it is understood.
But the evacuees will only be removed if they are willing.
It is felt that the proposed site is an ideal spot as it is on
high ground and easy to clear. Besides this, it is situated be-
tween Stann Creek and Pomona and is centrally located
between the Citrus Company and the B.H. Hercule operations
near Mango Creek.
Eight Die From Drinking Methylated Spirits For Alcohol
Six men and two women have died in Seine Bight
through drinking methylated spirits, mistaking it for alcohol.
A report from Stann Creek says that four more are in a
critical condition. 25 others have drunk from the same mixture
but have suffered nothing from it.
The Company were celebrating Carib Settlement Day
when they began drinking from a 5-gallon can that appeared
to contain alcohol. The can had been found floating after
A police boat from Stann Creek arrived in Seine Bight
on Wednesday night to find six of the victims already dead.
One died on the way to Stann Creek and the other passed
away in the Stann Creek hospital.
Those dead are: Apolonia Rodriguez, Gregoria Thomas,
Egbert Augustine, Leo Rodrigues, John Lopez, Bernardino
Moreira, Victoriano Augustine and Peter Flores. The serious-
ly ill are: Bridget Flores, Archangel Polonio, Alegandro Lam-
by and Theophila Nunez.
A spokesman from the village says that most of the
people who died because of the wood alcohol were people
who do not normally consume alcohol. It was just the festive
spirit that caused them to drink.
Wood alcohol has been taking its toll in Belize City also
as five persons have died in the city under similar circum-
stances since the hurricane.
Stann Creek After Hattie
(by E. A. (Kid) Broaster)
There is a great sign of hope here in Stann Creek as the
town now has lights and people have been working since
the day following the hurricane to clean up their town.
The soldiers took the lead in this matter, and the civilians
pitched in behind with such zeal that one can safely predict
that this town will be back to normal very soon.
Here in Stann Creek, a coupon system is being used
that Belize might copy to good advantage. Everyone who
is working gets a coupon worth $2 a day. No work, no coupon,
and the people are responding willingly to this idea.
P. W. D. foreman Ralph Burke said when he arrived
here, he found the town in a very bad state, but after a
conference with the disaster committee, things began moving
with amazing speed.
The Committee appointed Mr. Burke Director of Works,
and he organized work gangs consisting of work captains
and foremen, who are doing an amazing job.
A valuable addition to the Disaster Committee is Lieute-
nant Smith, of the Royal Engineers, who arrived here Monday.
Lieutenant Smith is doing a wonderful job.
Stann Creek, which was hit hard, is now a tent town.
I live in one of these tents now.
The Disaster Committee held a meeting behind closed
doors last night, and I was unable to attend but I understand
that certain reports were given which in effect said that
water on the South side of the Town rose to 11 feet and some
of the people were forced to hold on to trees to save them-
selves. A family of 11 was saved by holding on to an
orange tree. And about seventy people saved their lives
by holding on to a tamarind tree.
The whole town is in shambles and almost everyone is
homeless, but the people are determined to clear their town.
Work on Phillips off-shore drilling operations have come
to a stand-still. It is understood that most of their equipment
Rev. W. G. Leslie of the Assembly of God Church has
been assigned to take care of the aged, the invalid and the
disabled. He has under his care about 115 persons.
This gentleman is doing a great job, even after the suffer-
ing he went through during the hurricane. After the church
was demolished, he had to swim with a seven-year-old girl
until he found a refuge. Dissatisfied with this one act of
bravery, Rev. Leslie continued to aid and assist many other
people who would have otherwise drowned.
Sittee River In British Honduras?
by Reginald Brooks
They say that out of the 115 houses in that village before
the hurricane, 101 were totally destroyed, and the 14 left
standing are partly destroyed, including the Police Station
which had its roof blown off and the ceiling caved in.
After the hurricane, members of the Village Council were
so shocked by the complete destruction caused to the 'illage
that they were totally inactive and P.C. 100 Blease had to
take command of the situation.
One villager said that P. C. Blease deputized Frank Arnold
as a Police Constable, and Arnold walked the five miles to
Kendal where he got a Land Rover from Mr. John Ramos to
take him to Stann Creek. At Stann Creek, he reported Sittee's
situation to the District Commissioner Mr. Sabido and to
Police Inspector Arthur Adolphus.
Three persons died in Sittee, as a result of a building
falling on them. The dead are: James Kelly, 85, the father of
Cpl. Kelly and Walter Kelly, 21, Cpl. Kelly's nephew. A
nine-year-old boy, Levi Coleman, who suffered a punctured
bladder when the same building fell, died in Stann Creek
three days after.
The morale of the villagers in this little village has
been exceptionally high throughout the entire emergency,
and they have given every cooperation and support to the
Special mention should be made of Mr. Calbert Reynolds
who placed his grocery at the disposal of the villagers,
distributing food and clothing.
The first outside aid came from Stann Creek by M.V. Rio
Dulce, which carried food supplies, then the U.S. Navy
brought in food, medicines and doctors the following day.
Dr. Flynn and Dr. Heap, along with Sgt. Evans, a
medical orderly, were also there to give anti-typhoid inocu-
The H.M.S. Londondery also arrived with food, and Col.
Hall of the Worcestershire Regiment who visited the village,
expressed satisfaction at the efforts to clean up the village.
Other visitors to the village were the Stann Creek District
Commissioner Mr. Sabido and Inspector of Police Arthur
As far as the first weeks after the hurricane are concern-
ed the villagers have expressed their complete satisfaction
of the aid they recieved.
Premier Visits Mullins River
by Fitroy Lemott
(Belize Times Belize City December 12)
Yet another decomposed body was found in Mullins River
over the weekend, bringing the unofficial death toll in the
village to 43. Two bodies are reported to have been found
last week. The body, believed to be that of a man, was found
a mile from the village on Saturday, half an hour before
the Premier of Belize, the Hon. George Price arrived in
Mullins River on a tour of the area, his first since hurricane
Hattie. The Premier was accompanied by Councillor Fred
Wesby and Councillor Anthony Meighan.
Of the 70 houses existing before the hurricane, three
are standing minus some roofing, yet they sheltered over 50
of the 234 people in the village. Seventeen people, including
nine children survived in the Police Station's attic, and
watched the water rising to less than a foot of the ceiling of
the two storey building. Thirty-five people, including 28 chil-
dren rescued in the Roman Catholic teacher's quarters and
church, experienced similar conditions. Those in the quarters
had to break through the wallboard ceiling to rescue in the
A woman was moved to tears when she related her
desperate, futile attempt to save her only son. To save
herself, when the water reached her neck, she had to release
her son, whose body was later found and burned.
A man related how he was thrown out of the house when
it fell in and the 15 to 18-foot wave landed him a mile
from the village. During the lull, he made his way back to
the village, only to return to half that distance later being
too exhausted and weak to fight the wind and waves.
Most of the homeless in Mullins River have built tempo-
rary shelters and are determined to rebuild their village.
They have expressed appreciation for the speedy way m
which aid was sent to them soon after the storm, when the
Premier diverted a boat destined for the capital from Guate-
mala with medical supplies and food. Belize Times
After Hattie Reorganization
Never before in the history of the country of Belize
have we experienced such a disastrous occurrence as Hur-
ricanne Hattie. Its disruptive force uprooted an orderly scheme
of life that was only just beginning to take hold in our
City after it was nearly destroyed thirty years ago in an-
Hattie left in its wake a rage of destruction property
destroyed, homes disappeared, and lives lost. For those who
have life left and hope, and even those who have ceased
to hope we have a job to do. We have our City to build
back, our homes to re-order.
Positive steps have been taken in this regard under the
co-ordination of Mr. Dan Milan of New Orleans and with
the help of the Belize City Council, Housing and Planning
Department, the ICA, the Corps of Royal Engineers and
the Jamaica Housing and Planning Department and others
- with Government's direction, they are hoping to erect
temporary shelters at Hector Creek, 16 miles on the Belize
Cayo Road to accommodate the stricken families.
The shelters will be built on National lands, the most
suitable high lands nearest to the City. This area is about
15 feet above sea level and has good water supply. It is
proposed that in each. building there will be sixty family
units measuring fifteen feet by ten feet. There will be a com-
munity kitchen, a washroom and a latrine. In time about
fifty of these houses will be built and the housing problems
of about 240 families, or over 1,000 people will be temporarily
When these shelters are completed, the real work will
only just have begun. We will be faced with the task of
building a City. The most sensible thing will be to build
on higher ground. And if this is decided the call will go out
for pioneers, who are prepared to bear the brunt of the
building scheme. It won't be easy; but the fate of Belizean
generations is at stake.
Hattieville: Name of Refugee Housing project at Mile 16
Tranfers of Refugees Will Begin Today
(Belize Times Press)
Belize City, Nov. 28 The proposed name for the tem-
porary Refugee Housing project at Mile 16 on the Belize-
Cayo Road is HATTIEVILLE. This was a suggestion which
originated with the workers and has the approval of the
authorities in charge of the work. A well sunk on the site
this morning produced clear water which will be able to
provide the whole site with running water for all purposes.
Yesterday morning a group of press and radio personnel
visited the site with the Premier of Belize, the Hon. George
Price, who announced that the first phase of the transfer of
refugees from Belize City to Hattieville is to begin today.
He explained that the first group will comprise mostly the
families of workers on the site. This will be very conve-
nient for workers as they will not have to be travelling
to and from the city in the mornings and evenings.
After only twenty one days of actual construction work,
eight units, consisting of 60 family apartments each, are near-
ing completion, while two others were being laid out yes-
terday. A temporary police station is also going up.
The Premier, Mr. Milan, who is giving voluntary ser-
vice as Director and Coordinator, and Mr. Ray Ysaguirre,
General Superintendent of Construction, explained to the
visiting party that all necessary facilities will be provided for
refugees. These include a community kitchen under the
supervision of the Salvation Army, public toilets and elec-
They also explained that plans are being made to provide
the project with a chapel where services may be held by
the different religious denominations, a common reading room
and other social facilities. A commissary will also be estab-
lished there for the people to purchase whatever they need.
"The Truth Shall Make You Free"
A few minutes of driving takes you from the capital
city-wrecked and disillusioning spot-to Hattieville, a haven
for refugees sixteen miles to the west. It is indeed amazing
to consider what those 120 workers have done in Hattieville
during the past twenty one days since they have been work-
ing on the project. Bouyed and encouraged by the premier of
Belize, to whom Hattieville means a lot, those workers have
put themselves to the grind and produced results that might
For thousands of people who saw their hopes and future
dashed to the ground with the winds of Hurricane Hattie; their
homes destroyed by the same finger of fate Hattieville will
be another beginning. This little community, sixteen miles
away from wreck and ruin, will be an inspiration for our
homeless to build again. What little measure of security these
temporary shelters will offer to the refugees who will start
life again there will contribute enormously in raising the mo-
rale of Belizeans. Hattieville is a standing proof that there
is still a lot left for us. Hattieville will begin to make us
forget hated Hattie.
112 Workers Work Along With Royal Engineers At Mile 16.
There are 112 workers who are working along with sol-
diers of the Royal Engineers in the construction of seven buil-
dings for refugees from Belize at Mile 16 on the Belize-Cayo
Road, according to Lorenzo Benguche, G. W. D. U. National
Mr. Benuche, who visited the proposed refugees site
Friday, said water in the area is good and the workers seemed
happy in their employment.
It is understood that 500 families from Belize will be
rehabilitated at the new site.
Refugees Moved To Hattieville
It was moving day yesterday afternoon for thirty-four
families, consisting of 150 persons, who had sought refuge in
three shelters since Hurricane Hattie.
Twenty-four of the families had sought shelter in Paslow
Building, four at the Privy Council and six at the Mercy Con-
vent. And they were being moved to the new temporary hous-
ing site at Hattieville, at Mile 16 on the Belize-Hector Creek
The moving operations were being conducted under the
supervision of Mr. George McKesey.
Magistrate Orders "The Whip"
B.B. Dec. 6 City Magistrate Simeon Hassock yesterday
ordered "The Whip" for a boy convicted of stealing a saw.
"It is time that we start using "The Whip" Mr. Hassock
said in passing sentence.
The boy, a 14-year old was sentenced to ten strokes.
Norman Smith, 33, was sentenced to 6 months imprison-
ment for stealing three tires.
Both persons were convicted on charges arising out of
looting at the Belize Supply Co. midday yesterday.
The extent of looting was estimated at more than a thou-
What, still looting? Teenagers Dismissed in Court
(November 16 Bill Board)
Two teenager boys were dismissed in the Magistrate's
Court yesterday morning because the police failed to make
the proper charges against them. They were charged for loot-
ing, when in the opinion of Magistrate Hassock the charge
should have been unlawful possession.
The two boys who were arrested at the Police Station
were found in possession of about 10 yards of cloth and a
package of cheese. They claimed that they had been given
the articles at the Queen's warehouse by a man. But the
Magistrate cautioned them against accepting anything from
anyone unless they were sure that person was the owner
or had the authority to give them the articles.
"Ordinarily," Mr. Hassock said, "if the Police had brought
the charge as they should, I would have ordered that both
of you be thrashed. You can go now but don't come back here
Belize Supply Co. Looted?
Nov. 19 B.B. First report on any quantity of cash loot-
ed came from the Belize Supply Co., a hardware store of
Regent Street, where a safe was opened during or imme-
diately after the hurricane and the sum of $2,500 stolen. Re-
cords in the safe were apparently dashed away. The manage-
ment of the store is offering a reward for the persons
finding and delivering a black looseleaf ledger with Weis
Fricker and Ford Motor Company insignias inside.
Belize Supply Looted December 8 (Bill Board)
by Robert Taylor
The Belize Supply Co. was again looted midday Tuesday,
and goods amounting to more than $1,000 were taken away
by looters, according to Mr. James Nisbet, the manager.
"Even our records are in a worse state than they were
immediately after the hurricane, after the looters got through,"
Mr. Nisbet said.
"I actually had to take away a personal file to the mana-
ger of our company, from a little girl who was one of
some 100 people I found looting the store when I arrived."
Tires, light plant parts and office equipment are among
the articles which were looted.
As a result of the looting, the Police and Volunteer
Guard have had to post a round-the-clock riot squad in the
vicinity to protect private property.
(Injustice) The experience of the Belize Supply Co. in
the question of looting, is one that should set every well
behaved person thinking. This looting goes down in our re-
cords as the most inhuman act committed in the history of
(The Company) This company has served the community
for many years with a line of much-needed agricultural equip-
ment, and controlled some commodities in this field which
are not available in other firms. Besides this, the company
stocked a fashionable line of yachting and fishing equipment.
(Self Defence) In self defence, it is understood that the
firm's management are carrying loaded revolvers now.
(Public Opinion) Public opinions is that looters caught
in any second looting attempt should be made to suffer the
full penalty of the law.
After the hurricane people in Belize were in a state
of turmoil and the Police Force could not be considered
adequate during this state of emergency. Even in the po-
lice force some had lost their homes, others had lost their
loved ones, and others their uniforms.
Is it therefore not a wonder that the police force itself
felt somewhat in a turmoil, and were not in a state to cope
with extra ordinary conditions brought about by the hurri-
cane and tidal wave? We must further consider that all con-
victs in the prison were let out, so that they also might
have a chance to live, where as had they been kept in cap-
tivity many of them would have drowned from the tidal
wave. (As happened with the two big jaguars that were kept
in big cages near the Belize canal.-after the tidal wave they
were seen floating amongst the debris).
Some of these convicts made efficient veteran ring lead-
ers for raiders. It was under this state of emergency that
the Governor was forced to call on the army to assist in
restoring order in the city of Belize. Martial law was actually
never proclaimed by the Government as we will read in
"News and Briefs after Hattie", but the state of martial law
existed, due to the emergency measures that had to be taken
It was therefore in line for the government to call a
curfew, to be in a better position to curb with violence,
looting and other disorders which may have arisen through
lack of united authority.
The curfew meant restricted movements for most indivi-
duals who were about during late evening or especially so
during night time. No person was allowed to move about
after 7:00 p.m. without a special permit issued by an ap-
pointed police officer. The curfew was only so early a few
days and then order was restored and people responded, the
time was shifted to 9:00 p.m. and a little later to 11:00 p.m.
Fifteen minutes before the mentioned time the fire alarm
siren wailed out its warning that time was nearly up and at
the exact time again two or three separate warnings were
given by the siren and every one without his special per-
mission who was found wandering about was prosecuted by
The author had the experience of coming in late one
night without being able to locate a proper hotel for the
night. We therefore felt it proper to get our special permit
from the police office before we went on to our hotel.
The citrus trees stood out the hurricane quite well but the crop
for the most part was lost for the year. Several thousand acres were
(Photo W. Ford Young)
Although Cayo suffered less than Belize or Stann Creek, this patch
of coconuts has been ruined on the farm of Frank Norris near Cayo.
(Photo W. Ford Young)
Rationing of Donations
The issue of rations to employed persons has discontinued
with effect from the issue made on November 22, a Govern-
ment notice states yesterday. One more week of free rations
will be issued to unemployed persons, but after Nov. 29 ra-
tions will only be issued to persons who can prove that they
are unable to buy their own food.
This is Cayo
Small farmers have suffered tremendously as a result
of damages done by Hurricane Hattie and the flooding of the
rivers following the hurricane. All the plantations have been
damaged, and if substantial relief is not forthcoming the people
face months of starvation.
Flood waters rose to as much as 45 feet in some places and
in the lower residential areas in Cayo Town itself there was
as much as 9 feet of water.
Hon. Hector Silva, our District representative, said at a
public meeting that the people of Cayo must not expect any
help from Government for repairs and for food, because Belize
and Stann Creek suffered more than we did. But the Good
Lord smiled on us and sent two helicopters to us with food,
water and clothing. Unfortunately little of these things reached
the people who needed them most.
Helicopters have been coming here daily since the third
day after Hattie, with food and medicines.
Some people in the original committee have dropped out
and the District Commissioner, Mr. Ramon Ramirez has taken
over. He is now doing a fair job with the help of the Volun-
teer Guard and the Police.
Free Food Rations Stopped
Belize City, Nov. 29 Government has decided that
those who are in a position to pay for their food rations should
do so immediately.
A release from the temporary Administration building at
Fort George Hotel says that rations to all employed persons
and their dependents and to those in receipt of pensions
have ceased with the rations for the week which began
last Wednesday, the 22nd of November.
This means that all Civil Servants, teachers, pensioners,
banks and store employees, domestics, Government and City
Council manual workers and other employees, those self-em-
ployed, etc. will receive no more free rations.
Those who are not employed will be issued one additional
week's rations. After that food at Government's expense will
only be provided for families who state their case for assis-
tance to the Minister of Local Government. Social Welfare
and Co-operatives, Hon. Louis S. Sylvester.
All adult citizens, who are heads of families and believe
that they have just claim to receive rations should register
their names at the following points:-
1. Carrie Collins' Residence corner Lancaster and Castle
2. Belize City Council
3. Snow Kist, Albert Street (Near Johnny Fuller's Gro-
4. St. Ignatius School.
Letters to the Editor
Lines - But Thanks
Editor, Belize Times,
If I never see a queue again in my life, it will not be
missed. The stricken people of Belize City are deeply grate-
ful to all who have helped to relieve our lot in this disas-
ter. The lines may be long; but our gratitude exceeds them.
Citizen (Belize City)
Hurricane Season of 1961
GORDON E. DUNN & STAFF
U.S. Weather Bureau Office, Miami, Fla.
While the number of tropical cyclones was exactly the annual aver-
age for the last three decades, the hurricane season of 1961 was re-
markable for the lack of activity June through August and the very
high cyclone frequency of September through November, also for the
large number of storms of full hurricane intensity eight. Indeed, the
number could well be nine, or even ten, since Gerda, during a period
when it was still regarded as partly tropical, was attended by hurricane-
force winds at the Texas Towers off the New England coast. Ships also
reported 65-kt. winds in Inga on one or two occasions. Previously in
only eight years since 1900 had there been as many as eight hurricanes
in the Atlantic area (1.) Only one tropical cyclone developed prior to
September. Activity in the tropical Atlantic in August was at a mini-
mum and this was the third consecutive August with subnormal tropical
cyclone frequency. Hurricanes occurred over all portions of the Atlantic
and there was no concentrated area for activity (fig. 1).
According to Tisdale (2), there was a pronounced reversal in the
general circulation from August to September with the strong ridge over
western North America being replaced by a deep trough. Concomitant
with this trough development, strong anticyclogenesis took place over
eastern North America with a positive height departure of 180 feet at
700 mb. over Maine. The pattern of the height anomaly over the Atlantic
at this level resembled the circulation features found by Ballenzweig (3)
to be favorable for tropical cyclone development in the eastern Atlantic,
and four hurricanes in succession developed in this area during the first
half of the month. On September 11 these four were simultaneously of
full hurricane intensity in the Atlantic area, the first time this is known
to have occurred. Damage and fatality statistics are shown in table 1.
Some of the weather satellite potential in hurricane detection and
tracking was demonstrated in 1961. The track of Anna (fig. 1) was
begun at 60 degrees W. late on July 19. However, TIROS III at
0940 EST, July 17, at about 12 degrees N., 43 degrees W. showed that
at least a depression was present (fig. 2). The line extending eastward
from the cloud mass is probably the Intertropical Convergence Zone
(ITC). (All these satellite pictures are printed so that higher latitudes
are toward the top of the picture.) Hurricane Anna four days later is
shown in figure 3. The northern coast of South America and the Gulf
of Maricaibo are shown south of the storm and Panama and Costa Rica
can be seen at the lower left of the picture somewhat distorted by the
angle. The classical spiral band structure of a hurricane is shown in
Betsy on September 8 shortly after it began a sharp turn to the north-
east (fig. 4). A TIROS picture of unusually large hurricane Carla is
shown in figure 5. The center position of the hurricane was indicated
by the satellite as near as 26 degrees N., 95 degrees W. The actual center
position was approximately 27 degrees N. Hurricane Debbie on Septem-
ber 10 is shown in figure 7. This storm was first picked up in the
Cape Verde Islands. Since it could not be reached by reconnaissance
planes, its movement was forecast on the basis of climatology. The satel-
lite picture on the 10th indicated that there had been a much larger
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Fiouaz 1.-North Atlantic tropical cyclones of 1961.
Figure 2-Satellite photograph made at 0940 EST, July 17, 1981. The
cloud mass in middle extreme left (approximately 12 N., 430 W.) is
believed to be in an early stage of hurricane Anna. In this and the
following satellite pictures, the frame is oriented so that higher latitudes
are toward the top of the picture.
northward component of motion than indicated by climatology. The ex-
istence of Esther was not confirmed by reconnaissance until September
12. However, as early as 1412 EST, September 10, TIROS III strongly
indicated the existence of a tropical cyclone (fig. 2). Indeed, it seems
likely that it may have been of full hurricane intensity at this time.
It does not appear that it will be difficult to differentiate between
the cloud masses associated with upper troposphere vortices and those
accompanying tropical cyclones. Thus, the satellite without doubt is al-
ready an excellent detection tool. The center can usually be located with-
in 2 degrees. The more sophisticated weather satellites planned should
reduce the average error considerably.
2. Individual Tropical Cyclones
Hurricane Anna, July 19-24 Anna, the first tropical cyclone of
the 1961 Atlantic hurricane season, developed a short distance east of
the Windward Islands on the evening of July 19. An area of suspicion
was first noted well to the east on July 17 as Navy reconnaissance
reported an extensive area of strong radar echoes between 14 degrees
16 degrees NM and 50 degrees 55 degrees W. Shipping in
the area also reported numerous showers with winds generally light and
variable. TIROS showed the principal concentration of weather near
12 degrees N., 43 Degrees W. (fig. 2). During the 18th and 19th the
ITC shifted well north of its normal position and cyclogenesis probably
Figure 3. -Hurricane Anna at 1048 EST, July 21, at approximately
14.10 N., 72.40 W. The northern coast of South America and the Gulf
of Maricaibo and Isthmus of Panama can be seen south and southwest
of the cloud mass.
occurred at its intersection with the easterly wave first noted by Navy
aircraft on the 17th.
Following reports from the island of Grenada, indicating heavy
squalls with gusts to 50 m.p.h. and pressure of 1002 mb. around mid-
night local time on the 19th, reconnaissance aircraft located Anna in the
extreme southeastern Caribbean some 75 miles north of the Venezuelan
coast on the morning of July 20. By afternoon winds had increased to
slightly over hurricane force.
From its inception, Anna maintained a course slightly north of due
west on its entire track through the Caribbean Sea with a forward
speed between 15 and 23 m.p.h. and with lowest pressure 976 mb.
(28.62 inches) on the 22nd. On the 23rd the center skirted the extreme
northeastern coast of Honduras, then passed westward into the moun-
tains of southern British Honduras the next morning.
Since Anna's track was at an unusually low latitude, upper-air
data gave little indication of a hurricane. However, at 200 mb. a well-
developed anticylone was centered to the northeast of Anna and main-
tained this same relative position as the storm moved through the
Caribbean. Operating as an efficient outflow mechanism, this anti-cy-
clone played an important part in Anna's development and maintenance.
This relationship of the two dependent systems could occur only in a
deep easterly circulation such as existed over the Caribbean during this
period, and may explain why the size and intensity of Anna remained
Some minor damage occurred at Trinidad and Grenada, but there
were no casualties. Considerable damage was reported along the extreme
northern Honduras coast with several hundred houses damaged or de-
stroyed, and many plantations suffered heavy damage to fruit trees.
One death and a dozen injuries were reported from Trujillo and Bay
Islands. More than 5,000 coconut trees were blown down on Utila, a
small island off the Honduras coast directly in the path of Anna. No
official reports have been received from British Honduras, although un-
official information indicated damage was rather extensive at Punta
Gorda in the extreme southeast. The center of Anna moved inland over
a sparsely settled area.
Hurricane Carla, September 3 15. Somewhat above normal
shower activity was evident in the eastern Caribbean as early as Sep.
1, apparently associated with a weak perturbation in the Intertropical
Convergence Zone. The first indication of intensification and a closed
circulation was noted on the 0700 EST September 3 surface chart and
abnormal pressure and shower activity were mentioned in the tropical
weather summary on that date. An anticyclone in the upper troposphere
over the Caribbean was located in a position which provided an ef-
ficient outflow from the top of the disturbance.
At 0700 EST on September 4 the circulation had increased to de-
pression intensity (winds 32 to 38 m.p.h.) and the light north-northeast
wind at San Andres Island the evening before had shifted to westerly
12 m.p.h. and the barometer, while still below normal, had risen slightly.
At 1100 EST, the Miami hurricane center prepared the first bulletin on
the storm. At 2000 EST the same day, following aircraft reconnaissance,
Hurricane Betsy as seen by TIROS III at 1515 EST, September 8,
1961, showing classical spiral structure. The center is at about 360 N.,
590 W., or 900 miles east of Virginia.
Hurricane Cara, a very large storm, 1730 EST, September 10, 1961
at approximately 260 N., 950 W.
the first formal advisory was issued with a forecast for an increase to
storm intensity which was attained by 0500 the following morning.
During the next several days Carla continued a slow but remark-
ably steady intensification reaching hurricane force on the morning of
the 6th and its lowest central pressure (931 mb.) on the afternoon of
the 11th. Upper-air data at the 200-mb. level vividly illustrate the upper
troposphere outflow from Carla during its deepening stage.
The center of Carla was under surveillance for some 48 hours by
three land-based radars located at Brownsville, Galveston, and Lake
Charles. All radars showed a strong cycloidal track during the period
preceding landfall (4).
The New Orleans hurricane center described Carla as one of the
largest, most intense and destructive hurricanes ever to strike the
United States Gulf coast. Carla's center moved inland over the Port
O'Connor-Port Lavaca area on the central Texas coast during the after-
noon of September 11th. Sustained hurricane force winds were reported
from Corpus Christi to Galveston and hurricane gusts were felt along
almost the entire length of Texas coast.
High tides began affecting the upper Texas coast on September 8
and waves and tides continued to batter the Texas coast with ever
increasing fury until the center moved inland three days later. Highest
tides were 16.6 feet MSL at Port Lavaca, 14.5 feet MSL at Port
O'Connor, 15.2 feet MSL at Matagorda, and 14.8 feet MSL on the upper
Houston ship channel. A high water line varying from 15.7 to 22.0
feet MSL was established from the debris near the head of Lavaca Bay.
However, this includes an undetermined amount of wave uprush and
must be an overestimation of the still-water level in the area of the
observation. The unusually slow movement of 6 to 9 m.p.h. resulted in
exceptionally prolonged hurricane conditions.
Peak gusts of 175 m.p.h. were estimated at Port Lavaca. A gust
of 153 m.p.h. was observed on the anemometer of the Bauer Dredging
Co. before the instrument failed. The lowest reported pressure at Port
Lavaca was 27.62 inches (935 mb.) and it remained at that value
from 1545 to 1735 CST. Available information indicates the needle was
below the scale during that period.
Total damage in Texas was estimated at $300 million, two-thirds
to property and one-third to crops. Fatalities were 34 in Texas, 6 in
Louisiana, 5 in Kansas, and 1 in Missouri. Of the 34 dead in Texas
8 were killed in a tornado which swept across Galveston from the
Gulf as the hurricane there was subsiding. Eight tornadoes in all were
associated with Carla in Texas and 10 in Louisiana. Persons injured
in Texas totaled 465; 1,915 homes, 568 farm buildings, and 415 other
buildings, and 1,219 other buildings received major damage; and 43,
325 homes, 4,238 farm buildings, and 9,268 other buildings received mi-
Timely and accurate hurricane advisories resulted in the largest
evacuation of persons from danger areas in the Nation's history. An
estimated 350,000 persons fled inland from the Texas and Louisiana
coastal areas. This evacuation was responsible for the comparatively
low death toll. In September 1900 some 6,000 persons died, mostly from
drowning, in the well-remembered Galveston hurricane.
Hurricane Frances, September 30 October 10. Although there
were slight indications of a disturbed area east of the Antilles as early
as September 28, it was not until the morning of the 30th that aircraft
reconnaissance confirmed the development of tropical storm Frances.
On this date the storm was very poorly organized with a sea level
pressure no lower than 1005 mb. (29.68 inches).
Tropical storm Frances passed between the islands of Marie Ga-
lante and Guadeloupe, French Antilles, between 0000 and 0100 EST on
October 1, at 0100 EST, the Netherlands steamship Viajero near 16.4
degrees N., 60.8 degrees W., just off the island of La Desirade, French
Antilles, reported 60-kt winds from 120 degrees during a heavy squall.
At 0230 EST an amateur radio operator at Guadeloupe reported wind
gusting to 50 to 60 m.p.h. from the south.
In the passage from Guadeloupe, French Antilles, to Dominica,
West Indies Federation, it appears that the wind field was completely
distorted by the 6,000-foot mountains on Dominica and the 5,000-foot
range on Guadeloupe. This occasionally happens to tropical storms pass-
ing between or over these two islands while in the developmental stage.
Frances never recovered its earlier intensity while in the Caribbean.
Indeed, it was here that forecasters were confronted with a most dif-
ficult problem. Reconnaissance planes were able to follow an area of
weather and relative calm moving westward, while other planes were
Trace from Dines anemometer, Stanley Field, British Honduras, during
passage of Hurricane Hattie.
BAROGRAM or RECORD of PRESSURE
MONDAY 30th/ TUESDAY Sst / WEDNESDAY 1st THURSDAY 2nd
Mb IIHT MNUT Mb
1 1 I t2 tO i0 4 14 2 t 20 9 4 1 t2 to 0 4 4 J2 It C050
T 1020 1020
10 11 111011110 IN
10oo I I I I I I II I I I I I I I I I I I lot o
I F" I I00 I I I I I I I I 11L00
90 \ STATION: STANLEY FIELD FROM MONDAY: S3I. OCT. 196t
h BRITISH HONDURAS TO THURSDAY: and. NOV 1961
Figure 7. -Barograph trace at Stanley Field, Belize, British
Honduras during passage .of hurricane Ilattie.
tracking a very weak circulation moving north-westward toward the
extreme eastern portion of Hispaniola. The latter turned out to be most
important and the one that eventually intensified. The absence of a
good divergence field at high levels was noted during this period and
perhaps this was the paramount reason for the slow development
and the disorganized state of the storm.
Frances moved just to the west of Bermuda on October 6, then
threatened Maine on October 8. It later made an abrupt turn to the
right and dissipated over Nova Scotia.
The lowest sea level pressure reported was 948 mb. (27.99 inches)
which is in good agreement with the maximum winds estimated at
110 kt. (127 m.p.h.). The maximum intensity occurred when the hur-
ricane was west and northwest of Bermuda and gales were reported
throughout the islands at this time. As it turned out, flooding along
the south coastal plain of Puerto Rico caused more damage than at
any place along the entire path, mainly to roads and bridges. There
has been no loss of life reported in connection with Frances.
Tropical Storm Gerda, October 16-22. Several days before tropi-
cal storm Gerda developed, a Navy reconnaissance aircraft investigated
an easterly wave in the eastern Caribbean, finding widespread shower
activity and some evidence of a weak circulation. However, winds were
not strong, generally less than 25 m.p.h. The wave continued slowly
westward and began to show evidence of intensification the night of the
15th with pressures dropping in the central Caribbean and heavy rain
beginning over Jamaica and eastern Cuba. By the morning of the 16th,
pressure at Kingston had dropped to 1005 mb. with winds both at the
surface and aloft indicating .a circulation with the center a short
distance to the north of Jamaica. The poorly organized disturbance
moved slowly northward across central Cuba, thence northeastward
through the western Bahamas on the 18th with slow deepening but
winds still only 25 to 40 m. p. h. in scattered squalls. North of the Ba-
hamas, reconnaissance aircraft found winds up to 60 m.p.h. on the
morning of the 19th although the storm still remained poorly organized
with a large center and no evidence of a wall cloud.
Gerda moved north-northeastward to a position just off Nantucket
on the 20th reaching its maximum intensity at that time. Texas To-
wers off the Massachusetts coast reported whole gale winds, occasionally
sive amounts with flash flooding quite common over the more moun-
tainous sections of these areas. Damage through the New England
area was about the same as that from a typical wintertime northeaster.
The strong winds reported by the Texas Towers did not occur on the
coast where 30 to 50 m.p.h. were the strongest winds reported.
Hurricane Hattie, October 27-31. Hurricane Hattie was the killer
storm of the 1961 hurricane season, although property damage was
much greater in Carla. Approximately 275 people perished in Hattie.
Not since hurricane Janet, 1955, has a storm inflicted so much damage
in the Yucatan Peninsula region.
of hurricane force for short periods. From this position Gerda turned
to a- east-northeastward course gradually accelerating and becoming
extra-tropical on the 21st.
Although Gerda had most of the characteristics of a tropical storm
at low levels, conditions in the upper troposphere were not favorable for
strong deepening. Reconnaissance aircraft did not report any indication
of wall cloud formation or spiral bands at any time during the course
of the storm. Even at the time of the strong winds at the Texas
Towers, an Air Force reconnaissance aircraft very near their location
reported winds of only 10 kt. at 700 mb. A low-level injection of polar
air into Gerda was occurring at this time and the circulation apparent-
ly was quite shallow.
Damage from Gerda was not heavy although according to press
reports information was received from eastern Cuba of extensive flood-
ing resulting in seven deaths. Five deaths were reported from Jamaica
due to drowning. Heavy rains occurred for several days over Jamaica
and extreme eastern Cuba. Orographic effects probably caused exces-
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