The Belize and Taiwan governments are implementing a pilot project in the Cayo District on flood prevention, and, the aim is to develop an improved emergency management system. The project will see the use of advanced hazard mitigation technologies that will be overseen by technicians from Taiwan. Percival Cho, CEO in the Ministry of Environment, forestry fisheries and sustainable development and Division Director at the Taiwan Typhoon and Flood Research Institute in Taiwan, Josh Yang told us more about the project.
Percival Cho, CEO in the Ministry of Environment: this is a new area of support being provided by the ICDF the International Development Cooperation Fund of Taiwan. As you know that they have funded a lot of work in Belize in Agriculture in information and computer technology and in health but this a new area they are looking to support the government with especially through the Ministry of the environment and what the Pilot project intends to do is to deliver capacity building to municipalities that are suffering from what we call extreme rain events or flooding events and have not been able to come to proper terms with proper planning and designing and so the use of technology specifically remote sensing technology, digital elevation models and drone mapping using those technology what the ICDF hopes to do in conjunction with us hope to develop a flood mitigation and risk map for the some of the municipalities and in doing so helping them to identify where the trouble areas are for addressing with the improvement drainage and as I mention earlier what co-benefits that had of course is on vector control and removing those stagnant area of water that build up due to poor drainage and result in spread of vector born diseases so there are those benefits we are looking at for this project as well. What it really means in the long run for Belize is that our communities, our cities, our towns are expected to be more resilient to the effects of climate change as we begin to see more and more stream rain events, shifts in rainfall patterns, rain when we don’t expect it, rain during the dry season, rain when people are not prepared, we expect to see greater resiliency, people being more responsive, communities being more proactive in addressing some of the threats and there is many ways to do that generally it’s through spreading awareness, building knowledge as well as preparing physically to deal with these rain events, these extreme events.
Division Director at the Taiwan Typhoon and Flood Research Institute in Taiwan, Josh Yang: Data, Collect data is very limited in Belize so we need to figure out ok we need to have enough data in order to have a better measure of response so we think in my opinion we need to set up monitoring devices for example like water gauge in the Belize river. That is one thing and we also can have some kind of automatic rainfall gauge so for example enforcing in a sale we can have the rainfall gauge so we can try to establish the database for rainfall and then use those data and then we can kind of trigger say if we have this rain fall for now then we could trigger what kind of emergency response for later so this is the kind of devices now that we are thinking about to implement on site, also we can set up a type of early warning system so the system can automatically be trigger by monitoring data we have.
The pilot project is being focused within the Cayo District where several communities are faced with flooding annually. San Ignacio/Santa Elena Mayor Earl Trapp spoke of the significance of the project for the area.
San Ignacio/Santa Elena Mayor Earl Trapp: Knowing the inconveniences and the effects that have been caused to our residence, to me it is very important that this project becomes a reality. That is our number one priority, saving lives and of course properties for our residence. I can tell you the San Ignacio and the Santa Elena town council have been doing its part by improving in some of those low lying areas, improving the drainage. If you take a trip to san Ignacio you will see that we have constructed some wide cemented drains so far and ofcourse this new team will build on what we have one so far.
The project team comprising of experts from Belize and Taiwan held a Belize Flood Prevention Seminar in Belize City today where they presented experiences and technologies on flood prevention.