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Aug 30, 2012

CEMO Councilor trains for disaster management

While the coast guard and B.D.F. are beefing up resources, CEMO is strengthening its capacity to deal with natural disasters. Belize City was spared when Hurricane Ernesto moved north and made landfall in the Yucatan Peninsula on August seventh. But the hurricane season isn’t over and the City Emergency Management Organization is still brushing up on its preparedness plan. Today, over forty City Council employees participated in the first of a series of training workshops that will be done through collaborations with the National Emergency Management Organization and the United Nations Development Program. According to Philip Willoughby, the City Councilor responsible for CEMO, the employees are being trained in hurricane shelter management to be able to fill in and assist the public officers assigned to the shelters.


Philip Willoughby, Councilor Responsible for CEMO

“Basically, what we’re doing here today is training City Council staff, building capacity through UNDP projects and initiatives collaborated again through NEMO and what we are doing right here is capacity building in training our staff to be shelter managers in the event of a storm, we have additional support personnel to complement the public officers who are also to be the forerunners or the primary shelter managers during the storm.”


Delahnie Bain

“Why did you all feel that there was a need for this training?”


Philip Willoughby

Philip Willoughby

“We’re always looking to develop our employees, developing the council to take on additional roles and responsibilities as a part of our mandate as the councilor responsible for emergency management for Belize City and again it’s capacity building providing that additional support and relief for the twelve named shelters in Belize City and having the capabilities to probably assist other affected areas within the country if we can render assistance to our colleagues in other districts and municipalities.”


Delahnie Bain

“And what are some of the important things that they will be learning in this training?”


Philip Willoughby

“They will be fully trained in the areas of running, managing a hurricane shelter. As a prerequisite of being an employee of the council, they have to perform emergency duties and this now, these trainings, will be a part of what they will have to do in emergency mode once our EOC has been activated. Along with this theoretical side, there is a practical side that we will be doing other simulation exercise in which they will be implementing what they have learned today as well as other areas that we the council will have to provide during an emergency. So it’s not only limited to this particular area of shelter management and so forth; there’s twelve other functioning operations that need to be executed by the emergency committees.”


In other news from CEMO, Willoughby says the council will be conducting a survey to collect information on persons with disabilities and those considered to be shut-ins, who may need special attention, medication or assistance in evacuating in the event of a storm.

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