Belize is bracing itself for the arrival of Hurricane Earl which is edging closer to its Caribbean coastline.
Point of view
"Rescue personnel are on standby"Belize's National Emergency Coordinator
The US National Hurricane Center said Earl is a Category 1 hurricane, bringing with it winds of 75 miles per hour.
People on the coast have been told to seek shelter as high winds and heavy rain approach.
In shops in Belize City some were stockpiling food in fear of what might lie ahead.
City officials said they were preparing for its arrival.
“Shelters are opening, search and rescue personnel are on standby, and we have deployed most of the public officers in the hotspots, particularly Belize City,” Shelton DeFour, Belize’s National Emergency Coordinator, said.
At least nine people died in Haiti and the Dominican Republic as Earl passed over on Monday.
Earl is expected to bring 8 to 12 inches of rain to parts of Belize, Honduras, Guatemala and Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula over Thursday night.
The Hurricane Center said Earl would later travel over Mexico’s southern Yucatan peninsula or the north of Guatemala.
A tourism official in Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula said that the 410,000 tourists on holiday there would be safe.
The region has 788 hurricane shelters which can accomodate up to 280,000 people.
Red flags were flying on popular beaches to keep tourists away from the sea.