The Belize City Council led a public meeting last night in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). The 90-minute meeting was streamed Live on the council’s Facebook Page and focused on the preparedness of the city committees as it relates to national emergencies and the upcoming hurricane season. According to Mayor Bernard Wagner there are various areas looked at during the planning sessions.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “A significant portion of CEMOS planning continues to focus on response mechanisms and procedures. We also look at public education, simulations, short and long term mitigation plans and we also want to continue building capacity while enhancing our early warning systems. Our thirteen sub committees remain active. They are the human resource committee, the education information committee, the foreign assistance committee , our damage and needs assessment committee, search and rescue, housing and shelter, restoration and utilities, relief and supplies, medical care and public health, environment and solid waste management, mitigation access and infrastructure, transport and evacuation and economic recovery. All of these committees remain aligned with NEMO’s structured standard operating procedures so as to ensure continuity.”
With the hurricane season being just nine days away, Mayor Wagner says the work has already begun particularly in dredging exercises and the cleaning of drains.
Bernard Wagner, Mayor of Belize City: “I am generally speaking pleased with our state of preparedness at the city level. This past week we held a brief meeting with all the committees and out of that meeting I was made to understand that we have revised some evacuation routes, we’ve identified new pick up points for residents living in those high crime populated areas. We have also looked at shelter inspection. I was made to understand that those inspections occured in February with a view to increase the number of shelters. On the maintenance side we have continued to reshape and clean drains. We are pursuing along with the Ministry of Works with dredging of canals and water ways to ensure a smooth run off of water. We will partner with the Ministry of Works to dredge the Haulover Creek at its intersection with the bridge and I was speaking with the PM this past Tuesday and we were told that there’s a huge build up of silt in the Hualover by Haul Over Bridge and that contributes to the significant flooding in the Belama Phase 4 area; I know that area is a very flood prone area and that is one of our major concerns for this year. Our engineers continue to indicate that once we are able to clear some of those drainage and the connectivity of the drains into the canals and into the sea we should see some sort of less flooding in the Belama Phase 4 areas.”
From a national perspective, Retired Colonel Sheldon Defour spoke on the cooperation mechanism in place with the various emergency units. Defour who now heads the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) explained during his presentation that they are as prepared as they could be at this point.
The virtual public meeting was held last night at seven o’clock. Another public meeting is scheduled for June 17, and will focus on the topic of city sanitation.