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Sep 20, 2016

Damages from Hurricane Earl Could Reach Hundreds of Millions in Dollars

Joseph Waight

While we had the Financial Secretary on hand, he was asked critical questions on the state of the Belizean economy and the ever-expanding debt obligations that Belize must meet. His answers were terse and stark, to say the least. Waight provided the latest estimates of damages from Hurricane Earl, which struck Belize on August third, and the demands of relief.

 

Joseph Waight, Financial Secretary

“As you may know, we have engaged, through the assistance of the I.D.B., an independent assessment team from a regional organization called ECLAC – the Economic Commission for Latin America. They came in; they are experts in this field; they have done the field work and they are now preparing the report. We don’t have the preliminary figures yet, but I am hearing something in the area about one hundred million or so U.S. dollars. That damage is physical as well as economic damage – economic damage being loss to crops, loss to exports, loss to productive capacity. But the physical damage – there’s mercifully for Belize, very little infrastructure – roads, bridges, minimum; a lot of housing damage. And N.E.M.O., our Government agency, has been providing short-term relief, assistance as well as promises for re-construction, re-building and strengthening of damaged homes. So far we have released to N.E.M.O. about eight million Belize dollars for the relief and reconstruction effort; we are hoping that we can hold it at around that amount, but as they do the surveys, more and more needs are being identified. So I am hoping that the eight or ten million dollars will cap it, but we are not sure. Then of course, there is the longer term investment that we need to do for the private sector, maybe some support, especially for the small farmers, support in seeds, fertilizer, that type of thing to get them back on their feet. That number is still unknown. But so far we have spent about eight million dollars.”

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1 Response for “Damages from Hurricane Earl Could Reach Hundreds of Millions in Dollars”

  1. Marie says:

    Ok, tired of government giving away money who owed for their houses – debt relief, now is the time for them to help the farmers with some money and if they need to borrow money it should be at 3% interest maximum. Stop filling your pockets.

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