As for the preparations by the National Emergency Management Organization, NEMO’s Coordinator, Colonel Sheldon Defore explained to our newsroom that they are as ready as they can be. He says that their nationwide communication has been activated and they are working closely with the local weather experts.
Sheldon Defore, NEMO Coordinator: “NEMO since Saturday has notified all its district staff to be on the alert and to be prepared to convene a district emergency committee meeting so that we could analyze the situation as presented by the Meteorological Services of Belize to identify exactly what it is we are facing and to make preparations not only for the best case but for the worst case in the event this tropical wave becomes a depression, storm or even a hurricane then that is the extent of our planning. We’re also moving supplies out to the cayes, we did a first phase delivery of supplies about two weeks ago when we had a similar scenario and we continue to check our stocks in the warehouses to identify where we need to pre-position certain items and to acquire more. It is a phased operation if you will in terms of logistics where we procured stuff from Ministry of Health in terms of PPEs and get them to those district offices so that we have our cleaning supplies, our PPEs for the sheltered and the public officers so in the same motion that we were in a couple weeks ago.”
According to Colonel Defore they have already identified hurricane shelters and an assessment on safety was conducted earlier this year.
Sheldon Defore, NEMO Coordinator: “Shelter managers and wardens when called out by the Minister of the Public Services who are responsible for the human resource management committee for NEMO until that point in time when we coordinate the availability of the public officers based on shelters that would be opening, based on where they live you know then you start to assign teams of people to the respective shelters. That we know will be challenging because of the COVID-19 context in which we are operating in so we will be in some tight spots that we have to try and plan for and see how we could remedy them. You know NEMO would never mislead the public to give any perception that it will be easy, it will be smooth, it will be perfect, it won’t be because we’re dealing with disasters as I mentioned before. We’re not planning for a wedding or some musical concert we’re planning for disaster which means things will/ can go wrong. There will be shortages, pressures, gaps, there will be issues that you know you have to rectify on the spot, there will be unknowns, uncertainties that you have to deal with so we’re not going to mislead the general public to believe that NEMO has this wonderful masterful plan that will solve every scenario and eventuality- disaster risk situations don’t really work like that.”.