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Mar 21, 2017

Belize Gets Disaster Risk Donation

The Government of Belize has signed into a major insurance agreement with Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, known as CCRIF. The signing took place today in Belize City and will benefit the work of the National Meteorological Service. CCRIF has been providing funding for post hurricane relief. News Five’s Isani Cayetano reports.

 

Isani Cayetano, Reporting

In early August 2016, Hurricane Earl, a severe Category Two storm, plowed through the Belize District leaving in its wake a widespread decimation of residential and agricultural properties.  The damages, following an assessment conducted by the Government of Belize, were estimated in the millions and recovery has since been a steady process.  To a great extent, what we have learned as a country from the devastation caused by Hurricane Earl is the need for preparation.  Groundwork, however, doesn’t only come in the form of physical preparation.  We must also be prepared financially through insurance coverage.  Enter the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, or CCRIF, for short.

 

Yvette Alvarez

Yvette Alvarez, Ministry of Finance

“We presently purchase from CCRIF coverage for tropical cyclones and excess rainfall.  And for the first time last year we were able to collect some two hundred and odd thousand U.S. dollars, following the excess rainfalls of Hurricane Earl.  And as people who sit in the Ministry of Finance who have to find the funds to deal with all that happens after a hurricane, those funds, though small, were welcomed.  We’ve never collected under the tropical cyclone part of the policy but we are convinced that it is a policy that we would want to renew on a continuing basis and we continue the dialog with CCRIF as we look into other products that they are exploring.”

 

Established in 2007, CCRIF is the first multi-country, non-profit risk pool globally.  Over the past decade, payouts to participating countries have resulted in reduced burdens on state funds for those that are hit by natural disasters.  Many of those disbursements have been used to aid in post-disaster relief efforts, including cleanup, assistance to communities and rehabilitating important infrastructure.  Celebrating its tenth anniversary, CCRIF has proven itself instrumental in the recovery efforts of a number of Caribbean and Central American countries.

 

Milo Pearson

Milo Pearson, Chairman, CCRIF SPC

“We also want to mark these first ten years by assessing the operation of the facility, reflect on lessons learned, identify best practices, issues and challenges encountered over the years and most importantly, discuss the facility’s strategic direction to 2030.  And we look forward to engaging the Government of Belize in charting the way forward to a better serve both current and potential future members.”

 

For the past two days, the Government of Belize, via the Ministry of Finance, has been meeting with representatives of CCRIF.  Isaac Anthony is the Chief Executive Officer.  He was present this afternoon for the signing of an agreement which will benefit the work of the National Meteorological Service.

 

Isaac Anthony

Isaac Anthony, C.E.O., CCRIF

“I thought we had a very productive meeting and it shows you how constructive certainly the officials at the Ministry of Finance are and I am really heartened by the indication of the government in terms of the interest to continue their participation in this initiative.  But like my chairman, I am pleased to be here to participate in this signing ceremony.  The agreement provides for one hundred thousand dollars for the purchase of about forty to fifty automatic weather stations that will provide the Met Service of Belize with access to real-time rainfall data.  The Met Office has indicated that this will significantly improve the government’s ability to monitor, record and forecast rainfall within Belize and better prepare the country for hydrometric events.”

 

The symbolic signing and renewal of the agreement ensures that Belize is covered for the next few years based on the plan that it has purchased from CCRIF.  The insurance facility is confident that its membership will continue to see growth in the months ahead.

 

Isaac Anthony

“When CCRIF was first established we had sixteen members, in fact we still have sixteen members from the Caribbean.  More recently, in 2015 we expanded into Central America.  But currently, the only Central American member, official member is actually Nicaragua.  Based on the recent discussions that we’ve had we are reasonably optimistic that an additional two or three [countries] will join this year and potentially, over time we will get the full complement which is somewhere in the region of about six Central American countries.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I am Isani Cayetano.

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