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NEMO Minister and Officials discuss Disaster Relief with Religious Group

On February 13, 2018, in Belmopan, Minister of National Emergency Management, Hon Edmond Castro, accompanied by his Ministry’s Chief Executive Officer, Ruth Meighan, and National Emergency Coordinator, Colonel Shelton DeFour, met with members of a Disaster Relief Committee formed by the Jehovah Witness Religious Denomination in Belize.

The group, which represents over 50 Jehovah Witness congregations throughout the country, discussed with the Minister and his team how they can assist in times of disaster through coordination with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

Coordinator for the Jehovah Witness Disaster Relief Committee in Belize, Daniel Wheeler, who headed the delegation, says that around the world, wherever there are Jehovah Witness congregations, Disaster Relief Committees are set up to coordinate assistance through the Church for victims of various forms of disasters (Hurricane, Flood, Earthquake, Fire, etc) whether on a large or small scale. He says they are ready to assist in Belize and are pleased that the Minister and his team took time out from their busy schedule to meet with them and discuss how this can be coordinated.


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February 9, 2018

NEMO Coordinators for the Northern Region, which includes the Orange Walk and Corozal Districts, met yesterday, February 8, 2018 at their first Disaster Management Planning Meeting for 2018.The meeting was attended by Minister of National Emergency Management, Honorable Edmond Castro; Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry, Ms Ruth Meighan; and NEMO National Emergency Coordinator, Colonel (Ret) Shelton DeFour. NEMO Northern Regional Coordinator is Elodio Aragon Senior. Orange Walk District Coordinator is Suleima Celiz, and her assistant is Michael Neal. Corozal District Coordinator is Willard Levy, and his assistant is Ronnie Hernandez.

Hon Edmond Castro reiterated his commitment to ensure that NEMO Belize under his command is the best run national emergency management organization in the region. In order to achieve this, he says, the organization must be fully engaged in training, planning and preparation all year round, not only during the Hurricane Season.

The meeting was held at the new NEMO Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Orange Walk Town.


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NEMO Coordinators for the Central Region, which includes Cayo and Belize Districts (from Benque Viejo in the West to Caye Caulker and Ambergris Caye in the East), met yesterday, January 31, at their first Disaster/Emergency Planning Meeting for 2018.NEMO Central Region Coordinator, Al Westby, explained: “We are looking at our First Quarter Work Plan. We are looking at Tsunami threat, that’s one of our priorities; and setting out our Training Program for 2018.


We have all District Coordinators and Assistant District Coordinators, along with our National Coordinator and our Training Officer, from Cayo, Belmopan, Belize City, San Pedro and Belize Rural. It’s a discussion, collectively, with ideas from everybody, not from only myself or the Training Officer or the National Coordinator. We get the views and points from each coordinator, and we put them together, and achieve one goal together.”

The meeting was attended by Minister of National Emergency Management, Honorable Edmond Castro; and NEMO National Emergency Coordinator, Colonel (Ret) Shelton DeFour.Honorable Castro elaborated: “We’re bringing all the coordinators together so that we can discuss what happened over the past year, and plans for the upcoming 2018 Hurricane Season and Disaster Program for any disaster we might face in the upcoming year.

This is one of the first. We will be moving to the Northern Region and the Southern Region. Like I’ve always said, I would like to see NEMO be the best there is, not just for Belize, but for the entire region, Central America and the Caribbean. And it starts with the day of after the Hurricane Season, we start planning for the next Hurricane Season and the next disaster that might hit us.”


The meeting was held at the NEMO Belize District Office in Sand Hill.


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The rains have been constant over most parts of the country over the past week or so, and a number of communities have been experiencing some degree of flooding, not life-threatening but causing considerable inconvenience. Rancho Dolores in Belize Rural North is one such community. We have been deploying our NEMO equipment accordingly in response to the immediate need for clearing of drains to facilitate the flow of water and ease the situation. During the coming Dry Season, we will be reassessing the situation in those affected communities, in conjunction with the Ministry of Works, with a view to implementing more long term measures to mitigate future flooding.


The NEMO Toledo District Emergency Committee held an Appreciation Awards Ceremony and Banquet Thursday evening, January 25, 2018.

Keynote Speaker at the ceremony was Minister of National Emergency Management, Hon Edmond Castro. Other speakers included: Chair of the Toledo District Emergency Committee, Punta Gorda Mayor Fern Gutierrez; Toledo Senator, Hon Macario Coy; and NEMO Southern Regional Coordinator, Keith Emmanuel. Welcoming Remarks were delivered by Director of the Toledo Emergency Operations Center, Marion Nolberto; and the Vote of Thanks was presented by NEMO Toledo District Coordinator, Kenton Parham. Master of Ceremonies was Paul Mahung.

A total of seven (7) awards for the year ending December, 2017 were presented as follows: Emergency Volunteer of the Year, Jaqueline Burns from ‘The Dump’ Community; Village Emergency Leader Award, Marlene Alvarez of Trio Village; Emergency Response Team of the Year, Department of Agriculture, received by District Agriculture Officer Justaquio Tush; Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Participatory Award, Lyle Williams of the Medical Care and Public Health Emergency Committee; Emergency Leader of the Year, Floyd Lino, former Mayor currently with the Ministry of Education and Chair of the Housing and Shelter Emergency Committee; Emergency Team Spirit Award, Miguel Guerra of the Ministry of Works and Chair of  the Mitigation, Access and Infrastructure Works Emergency Committee; and Emergency Worker of the Year, Sherlene Bonnell of the Treasury Department and the Human Resource Management Emergency Committee.

The Appreciation Awards Ceremony and Banquet was held at the new NEMO Emergency Operations Center Building located at the old Machaca Forest Station Compound, just outside Punta Gorda on the Southern Highway.



Vista Del Mar, on the outskirts of Ladyville in Belize Rural Central is one of the communities that has been experiencing flooding and drainage problems over the past couple years. It is a matter that will require some studying and engineering of a long-term solution. But for now, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has teamed up with Area Representative Beverly Williams to quickly address the immediate need for the existing drains to be cleared, thereby facilitating the movement of water and mitigating the situation. Back in August of 2016, Vista Del Mar was one of the communities that experienced the most flooding caused by Hurricane Earl.





At NEMO, we note and welcome the signing this past Tuesday, January 16, 2018 of the contract for the Feasibility Study and Design for the raising, widening, upgrading and paving of the Crooked Tree Access Road/Causeway (5.6 Kilometres). The agreement is between the Government of Belize and Caribbean Civil Group Limited which is executing this phase of the project. It is for around BZE$750,000 and partly funded by GOB with technical assistance from the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The study and design work commence almost immediately and will be completed in 8 months; and the road works will begin shortly after.The contract was signed by Minister of Works Hon Rene Montero and Principal Consultant for Caribbean Civil Group Limited, Ray R McKenzie. Also signing as witness was our Minister of Transport and National Emergency Management, Hon Edmond Castro, who is also Area Representative for Belize Rural North, the constituency in which Crooked Tree Village falls.

We note that the village of Crooked Tree, whose access road crosses a lagoon,presents a yearly, seasonal challenge for NEMO and other related departments and organizations, such as the Belize Coast Guard and Belize Defence Force, with access to and from that village having often been cut off with the rising of water levels.This project therefore represents for us a long- term, flood mitigation measure and we join residents and visitors of Crooked Tree in welcoming it.A group of Crooked Tree residents were in Belmopan on Tuesday to witness for themselves the signing of the contract for this feasibility and design stage of the project.