Belize residents start recovery after 7.1 quake

BELMOPAN, Belize, May 29, 2009 – Residents of a fishing village in the south of Belize is picking up the pieces after a powerful earthquake off the coast of Honduras rattled the island early yesterday morning and destroyed many buildings but spared life in the Caribbean island.

Monkey River Village felt the majority of the damage when the 7.1 tremor shook Honduras, killing at least six people in that country and wounding dozens more.

The wooden homes across that community were damaged extensively and even concrete buildings shifted. Some residents said it would take them a long time to pick up the pieces, but were confident that they would recover and, in many cases, begin the rebuilding process from scratch.

In Independence Village, about 50 miles away, thousands of residents were left without water when the community reservoir – an 18,000 gallon water tank – collapsed when the quake shook the ground around 2:25 am.

No estimate of the damage has been revealed as yet.

But over in Honduras, President Manuel Zelaya said damages were estimated at about US$37 million.

The centre of the quake was located under the Caribbean Sea, more than 100 kilometres from the Honduran mainland.

After the shaking stopped, it was reported in Honduras that a 15-year-old boy was buried in his home, a six-year-old girl was killed when her house collapsed, a three-year-old boy was crushed when the roof of his home came crashing down and two other people died in home collapses. A man also died of a heart attack during the earthquake.