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Aug 6, 2012

City Emergency Management Organization ready for Ernesto

The City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO) also went into full gear in Belize City this afternoon. CEMO has set up its Emergency Operation Center here at Channel Five studios on Coney Drive, which will be the command center for its operations until the all clear is given. Before moving over, a press briefing was held at City Hall, following an emergency meeting this morning. According to Mayor Darrell Bradley and the councilor responsible for CEMO, Philip Willoughby, they have been working on their disaster plan for the past four months and they are ready for Ernesto. The hurricane shelters have been inspected and will be opened on at two o’clock on Tuesday afternoon. The mayor says that residents need to make their move quickly because in the past, City Council personnel have had to put themselves at risk to accommodate last minute relocations.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

Darrell Bradley

“All hurricane shelters in Belize City are being prepared. That process began this morning and it should be complete—I’m getting a report on that at three o’clock this afternoon and shelter managers are being asked to be on standby in the event shelters are opened. And this is all shelters in Belize City. Voluntary evacuation is in place and in effect for all islands. The swing bridge will be swung at six p.m. this evening and we’re also coordinating other swinging of the bridge for tomorrow.”

 

Philip Willoughby

Philip Willoughby, Councilor Responsible for CEMO

“For the North side there is Pallotti High School, All Saints Primary School, Trinity Methodist Primary School, UB Education Campus—that’s behind West Landivar next to UWI. For the Southside you have Saint John’s Vianney, Grace Primary School, Salvation Army Primary School, Queen Square Primary School, Saint Michael’s High School and the Presbyterian Primary School behind Lord Ridge Cemetery. So those are the shelters for south side. I missed Saint Martin de Porres and Saint Luke Methodist School also.”

 

Darrell Bradley

“All those shelters that councilor Willoughby indicated are fully prepared to meet up to a category two hurricane. In the event of a category two, we have taken a decision that we will evacuate Belize City. So we don’t know if residents want to stay, but we will not be here. Our projections are that at worst, the hurricane if it does hit Belize City, it will hit at a category one. But we’re fully prepared and those shelters can withstand a category one hurricane. When the storm is upon us, that is no time for persons to be thinking about whether or not they should move into a hurricane shelter and I think this is one of the issues that occurred in the last occasion; it was too late and we have to make decisions as it relates to the safety of our own personnel.”

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