Belize Continues to Rebound After Being Devastated by Lisa
The Government of Belize is in “relief mode” as area representatives continue to assist their constituents following Hurricane Lisa. For the past few days, GOB along with other organizations spread out into the streets of Belize City assessing the damages that the storm caused to find out what the residents are in grave need of. Today, Prime Minister, John Briceño gave an update.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Pretty much what we’ve been doing for the past few day we’ve been more on a relief mode that we are going out there looking at the people in the different areas and division and finding out what they need. And whilst we are very appreciative of what NEMO has been doing along with the BDF and the police we quickly sent out monies through the constituency development fund so that the representatives can immediately go in and start to give out assistance and we have given it to all the representatives. Of course the divisions that got hurt most got more than others even within the city itself.”
PM Briceño says that his administration is working on a relief plan to get residents back into their homes. He adds that they are estimating that the total cost of damages is more than 10 million US dollars. Repairs include complete rebuilding of the Philip Goldson Highway from where it begins in the city up to the Haulover Bridge and other infrastructural damages.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We’re working on the relief. We’ve been issuing a few thousand relief bags to people, started to get mattresses to them in some instances trying to do small repairs so that at least people can move back into their homes. As you all know BEL has done an exceptionally good job. They are pretty much past 95% on so is water and BTL and Speednet all of these utilities have quickly gone back online trying to get life back to normal. Minister Courtenay was with me in the flyover because Foreign Affairs is in charge of cooperation within the government and himself along with Col. Defour they quickly prepared a short document I think it’s about two or three pages and we used that and we took a guess estimate just threw out there I think it was $10 million US dollars but we have the Ministry of Housing that is going house to house, constituency to constituency trying to look at the number that we need to come up and again the initial number is that the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing have come up is approximately $20 million dollars.”
The PM also says that the damages serve as an eye opener for GOB to implement more stringent building standards policies in Belize, which is currently lacking.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Most of the houses that were destroyed were these plywood houses, or houses that were just quickly put together. A board house if it’s properly built can withstand the hurricane. This also gives us a good opportunity to be able to set the standards that we need, the building standards in Belize. We have to have certain standards we don’t have that and that is what the Minister of Housing has been bringing up constantly in Cabinet that there are no standards. He has been working on that so hopefully with this hurricane it can make the case of the importance of setting up standards when it comes to housing.”