Minister Habet: Belizeans Still Recovering from Hurricane Lisa After Nearly a Year
It’s been almost a year since Hurricane Lisa battered the country but according to the Minister of Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Orlando Habet, residents are still recovering from the natural disaster. Last year in November, a category-one storm tore through the Belize District and damaged hundreds of homes. Since then, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been provided to the government to assist its recovery efforts. Habet explained that the government still has a lot of work to do before it can say the country has fully recovered from Hurricane Lisa.
Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management: “In the early part of the season when the hurricane had just hit I think the government acted promptly in terms of food and other cleaning supplies. Most people, I believe, got assistance. We also had the strong participation from the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing who were out there assisting with some reconstruction and refurbishing. I think the various representatives from the various constituencies, from their constituency fund also assisted in providing whatever assistance they could especially with repairs to homes. From NEMO we have been constantly obtaining, as soon as we get funds, to purchase more food items and other cleaning supplies and those have been distributed. As late as last week, there was some issuance of some supplies in some, I think by Ladyville and Lords Bank area. Maybe not much, but there was some. So it’s a continuous process. What we have not been able to do as yet, and we’re still looking for funding, is that very important is our shelters and as you know, most of our shelters are schools. Again, many of those schools fall under some church institution so they’re not totally government. Government provides the salaries for the teachers and so it also has a high expenditure. And so there is that thing that we’re looking at currently as to if this church-owned school cannot do the repairs then how does government come in to assist in those repairs? Because we don’t want to move somebody into a shelter where they’ll be getting wet or the roof is going to blow away. So we’re still looking at that to the Ministry of Finance trying to get some funding and hopefully with some of our partners, international partners, to get some funding to do the repairs of some of those shelter facilities.”