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Archives for : November2017

MEDIA BRIEFING TO MARK OFFICIAL CLOSE OF HURRICANE SEASON 2017

A media briefing marking the close of the 2017 Hurricane Season was held this morning at the NEMO Headquarters in Belmopan. Speakers included Minister of National Emergency Management Hon Edmond Castro; CEO in the Ministry, Ruth Meighan; NEMO National Emergency Coordinator, Colonel (ret.) Shelton DeFour; and Chief Meteorologist at the National Meteorology Service, Catherine Cumberbatch.

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In her remarks, Chief Meteorologist Catherine Cumberbatch noted that Hurricane Season 2017 lived up to expectations as a very active one. She said, it was forecasted to be above average and it was, with a total of 17 named storms, of which 10 became hurricanes and 6 reached major hurricane status (category 3 or higher). The major factors that supported the above average season, she explained, were, a decrease in vertical wind-shear, the presence of above-normal sea surface temperatures in the Tropical Atlantic Ocean, and the transition from a neutral El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) pattern at the start of the hurricane season to a weak La Niña by the end of the season.

Thankfully, Ms Cumberbatch recounted, “Belize was blessed to have NOT been directly affected by any. However, two systems were tracked just north of our border. Those were Tropical Storms Franklin and Harvey.” She said, “The staff at the National Meteorological Service will continue to do its utmost best to disseminate reliable analytic information in a timely and user-friendly manner to the Belizean public in the case of any weather-related emergency event.”

Hon Edmond Castro expressed thanks to the Almighty for sparing us this past hurricane season, and to NEMO staff and volunteers countrywide and the wider community for staying alert and prepared; National Emergency Coordinator Shelton DeFour spoke of the lessons learnt and areas identified for improvement in Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management; and CEO Ruth Meighan thanked the staff of NEMO and the National Meteorology Service and commented on the continued work to improve coordination within the Ministry, the Public Service and the community for greater efficiency and effectiveness.

The event was attended by NEMO Coordinators from around the country and support staff from NEMO and the Ministry of National Emergency Management.

NEMO Coordinators attend Mesoamerican Risk Management Meeting in Mexico

Deputy National Emergency Coordinator Colin Gillett and Orange Walk District Coordinator Suleima Celiz represented Belize last week at a technical meeting for the Mesoamerican Network for Integrated Risk Management held in Mexico City.

The Mesoamerican Network for Integrated Risk Management is a component of the larger Mesoamerica Integration and Development Project which includes all Central American countries as well as Colombia and the Dominican Republic.

This project is a cooperative initiative that facilitates the construction of consensus, the articulation of cooperation efforts and the attraction of resources to strengthen Mesoamerican integration and development processes with the objective of improving quality of life.

The objective of this particular component is to develop mechanisms and tools for the generation and dissemination of information on integrated risk management, in order to reduce the vulnerability of Mesoamerica to disasters caused by natural phenomena and protect its inhabitants, ecosystems and public and private infrastructure.

This meeting was a technical forum to discuss the advances in data collection to be fed into the regional Geographic Information System (GIS) that has been developed and housed in Mexico. The system will integrate all risk and emergency data and maps developed in shape files and into one large database for the region.

Belize’s participants, for their part, reported on the implementation of our country’s National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), which will set the standards for Belize in all things GIS and mapping related. This NSDI will also set the protocols for data/map sharing within the country and with regional partners. It was proposed that the project steering committee convene a meeting in Belize to discuss possible opportunities for capacity development.

 

The Mesoamerican Risk Management meeting took place on November 15 and 16, 2017.

BELIZE RED CROSS OFFICIALS MEET WITH NEMO MINISTER

In Belmopan this afternoon, Minister of National Emergency Management Hon Edmond Castro met with officials of the Belize Red Cross (BRC) to discuss cooperation with respect to a program which that organization is spearheading in Rural Belize District.The project is titled, “Strengthening partnerships through accountability and transparency” and is aimed at enhancing capacity of communities and service providers in disaster response.

The Belize Red Cross says it aims to establish transparent and equitable service delivery in the key areas of Disaster Risk Reduction, Health and Hygiene, and Post Disaster/Emergency Relief in the most vulnerable communities.This particular project focuses on 16 rural communities in the Belize District and is funded through the 2017 Central America Regional Security Initiative Economic Support Funds (CARSI ESF) with assistance through the US Embassy.

The officials from the Belize Red Cross who met with Hon Castro in his Belmopan office today were: Director General, Lily Bowman; Project Manager, Jessie Young; Project Field Coordinator, Fred Hunter Jr.; and Field and Logistics Officer, Charletta Casanova.NEMO is one of the key government agencies with which Belize Red Cross will be working on the project, along with others such as the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and Ministry of Human Development, Social Transformation and Poverty Alleviation; as well as other non-government organizations and community group

FLOOD MITIGATION – DANGRIGA

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NEMO equipment is currently in Dangriga Town excavating and clearing drains as part of our nationwide flood mitigation program. Similar works were done over the past three weeks in the neighboring village of Sarawee, which is also in the Dangriga Constituency. Also in the Stann Creek District, flood mitigation works were earlier executed in the villages of Red Bank and San Juan; as well as in various villages, towns and communities in Belize District, Corozal, Cayo and Toledo.

NEMO Educating Students about Disaster Management

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Emergency and Disaster Management is led by NEMO but involves the entire community. With this in mind, we are stepping up the education process.We are proud of the work being done by people like Belmopan NEMO Coordinator Clare Moody and Assistant Dalton Eiley, who have been holding open days for students, teachers and parents in communities in their area of responsibility.

These include Cotton Tree, St Matthews, More Tomorrow, Frank’s Eddy, Valley of Peace, Blackman Eddy, Ontario, Teakettle, Camalote, Roaring Creek, Armenia, St Margret’s and Springfield. Congratulations to them for the initiative, and to NEMO Regional Coordinator Al Westby and National Coordinator Colonel (ret.) Shelton DeFour for supporting the endeavour.

 

NEMO Rendering Assistance to Flood Victims in the North

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The Government of Belize through NEMO rendering assistance to the people of Santa Martha, Orange Walk.District Coordinator Ms. Suleima Celiz, head of operations along with her Relief and Supplies Management Committee (RSMC) District Chairperson Mr. Joel Cowo, and their Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis (DANA) team, did an excellent job in ensuring that everyone affected was assisted.Ms. Suleima and her team were in and out of Santa Martha from the day after the start of the flood and remains in contact with them, ensuring that they are safe.