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Oct 19, 2015

CEMO Carrying Out Damage and Recovery Assessment

The waters which covered Belize City in the weekend’s epic flooding have largely receded, allowing the very critical component of recovery to get underway unimpeded. CEMO, the City’s Emergency Management Organization, will play a critical role in that effort. Today that body, headquartered at City Hall updated the media on life in the city after the rains. Mike Rudon has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

This morning, Mayor Darrell Bradley, the head of the City Emergency Management Organization, provided an update on the state of the city following a fairly devastating flood situation caused by more than ten inches of rainfall in the city. In some areas the water levels and damage to homes even resulted in evacuations.

 

Darrell Bradley

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“We have one hundred and seven people who are still in shelters. These are persons split between ITVET and YWCA. These include children and adults. The bulk of the persons are at the ITVET compound. The Ministry of Human Development together with representatives from CEMO are coordinating to ensure for the care of these persons. They have been assisted by the Red Cross in terms of providing blankets and so forth. Most of these people were brought into the shelter early yesterday morning. Some people have already left shelters and at last report there are still one hundred and seven persons in shelters.”

 

According to Bradley, there are only a few areas in the city where the floodwater is still a factor and where caution is still being advised.

 

Darrell Bradley

“There are critical areas of Belize City which always get flooded. These are areas of Princess Margaret Drive, in front of the Queen Street Police Station, sections of Hyde’s Land and Orange Street…we reported that at inspection yesterday all of these areas were cleared. Within a period of eight hours after the rains had subsided, the only areas of flooding were reported in the Faber’s Road Extension Area, in the area beyond the Complex Building and in the area by Holy Emmanuel. We’re still monitoring those conditions. One of the things we’re asking members of the public is if you can avoid those areas particularly by Faber’s Road please do so.”

 

Staff from the City Council has been deployed since this morning to deal with the debris left behind from the flooding, including downed signs and leaning lamp-posts. There is also an assessment in progress, all part of a strategic focus in the wake of what is being unofficially termed an emergency…with a small “e.”

 

Darrell Bradley

“The primary assessment concentration is really on things like schools, things like medical facilities…I was told that several of our clinics in Belize City took water…for example the Cleopatra White Health Centre. So that they want to ensure in terms of the assessment that these areas are operational as early as possible. There also is a focus on providing assistance to dwelling structures so that if people’s roofs and walls were affected then the assessment team would also do a review of those things with the view to having assistance provided where needed. The improvements with the flood mitigation projects…with the drainage works that the city has focused on over the last year and a half…it has worked because immediately after the rain stopped we went out and we did an inspection of critical areas…areas like Orange Street that always takes water, Queen Street that always takes water, Freetown Road that always takes water, Princess Margaret Drive that always takes water, Hyde’s Lane that always takes water…and when I say takes water I mean that waters will be there for twenty-four hours, forty-eight hours after the rain has subsided….and these areas were dry.”

 

Where the massive response in terms of alleviating actual human suffering – persons who have lost their homes and/or possessions because of the flooding – that will come as part of a larger response from central government using the Ministries of Housing, Works and Human Development. Mike Rudon for News Five.

 

If there is anybody who would be prepared to assist with cleaning supplies, foodstuffs, clothing, blankets or other necessary supplies, they can do so through the CEMO office headquartered at City Hall.

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