The recent flooding situation around the country is as a result of incessant rains in the last few days and now that the rain is slowing down, it will take more than a few days to get things back to normal particularly for those families who have been displaced or affected in some way. The National Emergency Management Organization since its activation has been catering to persons in the shelters as well as those who remain at home but are having issues with groceries, clothing and the likes. WE spoke with Minister Godwin Hulse this afternoon to find out how the relief efforts are going and to get an idea of what the current situation is around the country in the aftermath of the recent rains.
“NEMO has been working in conjunction with the Ministry of Human Development and the relevant agencies. We have been providing meals for people in shelters we have been providing across the country from Corozal down relief supplies in terms of food packages for people in their homes as well as some supplies such as mattresses and other things. There is a very dedicated and detailed ongoing program going on right now which is called DANA (Disaster Assessment and Needs Assessment) program where we are sending people out. They have been going out since yesterday in all the various areas affected, to check on the detailed needs of people. What it looks like is most people need some sort of building repairs whether that is sheeting for their roofs, plywood and that sort of thing. We will provide first before we provide the other things like appliances if we need to replace any of those and mattresses and so forth for obvious reasons because if it rains again the things will get wet again. So that is ongoing, we hope to have that very well underway with all the final analysis for Belize City, Corozal and Orange Walk which are the most affected areas by Thursday evening and then we can push off on trying to get people back to some sense of normalcy. We are also at this time still sheltering people, there are a couple of shelters that are still open in Belize City we have two, in Orange Walk we have San Estevan Community Center with 15 people, in Corozal we have the Guadalupe RC School with 29 people. In Bomba we have six people in one shelter and in San Pedro we have three persons in a private shelter so we have about 136 persons still in shelter that we have to provide for.”
As we mentioned, there are homes around the country that have been affected and the distribution of goods and the basics does require some coordination. Hulse elaborated on how the distribution system is set up.
“Well what we do from our NEMO warehouses is that we take it to a central location. Right now it is on Regent Street at the Human Development compound and from there we do the distribution out in Belize City. NEMO is broken up into several committees and the Human Development Committee is responsible for that distribution. In the districts we do it the same way and if we have to do anything for the River Valley we will do it from the Ladyville warehouse. NEMO is an emergency organization so whenever there is an emergency NEMO kicks into gear and the necessary finance as dictated by the needs are provided by the Ministry of Finance.”
Currently, NEMO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development and the Ministry of Housing, is providing mattresses, blankets, food rations as well as zinc and plywood.