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Jan 17, 2019

Red Cross Gifts NEMO 20K in Equipment

The Belize Red Cross donated a trove of equipment to NEMO today in Belize City. The Red Cross says that that donation was made possible through a grant they obtained through the U.S. CARSI-E.S.F. programme for disaster risk reduction. The Red Cross says the donation is about strengthening their partnership to better serve communities in Belize that are vulnerable to natural disasters. News Five’s Andrea Polanco stopped in at the handing over ceremony to find out more about the donation and how it will be used.

 

Andrea Polanco, Reporting

The Belize Red Cross handed over twenty-thousand dollars worth of equipment to the National Emergency Management Organization. Director General of the Belize Red Cross Lily Bowman says the donation will help to strengthen the way the two organizations work together to help reduce and respond to the damage caused by disasters.

 

Lily Bowman

Lily Bowman, Director General, Belize Red Cross

“The Red Cross is always looking to improve the way we do things in the fields for the communities, especially when it comes to data collection. We want to be more accurate. We want to be more transparent. And we want to bring it home real time so that we can get back into the communities fast enough to deliver the services they need in assistance. And if we are going to do anything in communities to have them become more resilient, NEMO has to know. So, it is to let us not duplicate efforts and for us to move in partners to make things more effective and have a bigger impact.”

 

Among the equipment donated, are a drone, iPad, Smart phones, cameras and a portable server.  Minister Edmond Castro explains how these items will help NEMO to respond more effectively and efficiently to emergencies.

 

Edmond Castro

Edmond Castro, NEMO Minister

“It helps us a lot. We will be able to get real time assessment. So, basically we will not have to miss nobody and we will not miss any house that has been damaged. And it will also help us in that you will be unable to lie to say that Peter house gone down or Jane house gone down when there is no real data from the drone that is telling us that Peter had a house or a hundred houses went down when it was only fifty or seventy-five. So, the equipment that we now have will be able to assist us greatly in real time in terms of a disaster.”

 

The donation made today complements a workshop that NEMO reps and other government partners are attending this week. The participants have been learning how to map communities in Belize using satellite images and other tech tools. This is being done so that emergency officials know where to go and how to get to people in times of need.

 

Daniel Joseph

Daniel Joseph, GIS Officer, American Red Cross

“Open Street Map is a global map that is updated and created by the communities that live in those places. The data is free and open for anybody to use. You can actually access the data and use it make your custom map visualizations or do important disaster and response work understanding where communities are at risk, what those risks are and being better able to respond to disasters. So, teaching people how to update the map and how to access the data and use it is really important for disaster resilience. The drone for collecting high resolution aerial imagery. So, either in the aftermath of a disaster or before you can collect imagery and updates to the map that represent what is there in reality. We have also included in the kits phones to collect data in the field. So, instead of going out with clip-boards and paper, you can do things digitally and get data that is much more accurate and you can collect it much more quickly and efficiently. Also, a digital action camera to collect street imagery so that you can build your own street level assessment of the area and collect data that way as well.”

 

Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.

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