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Jun 9, 2014

CEMO says it’s prepared and ready for hurricane season

The hurricane season kicked off on June first, and today the City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO, held a press conference at City Hall. While one purpose of the conference is to send the message that CEMO is prepared and ready to deal with any occurrence, another is to make it crystal clear that Belize City residents must also be prepared. There are thirteen shelters in Belize City – eight on the south-side and five on the north-side. All have been checked and made ready. But make no mistake…while they will be adequate, they won’t be comfortable.

 

Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

Darrell Bradley

“I want to make this point very clear; that the shelters are not for convenience. It is something that you really have to make it clear to members of the public; that when you go into a shelter, it is because an emergency has been declared—in this case we are talking about hurricane—and you are in there to protect your life and certain of your core property. You will not be comfortable in a shelter. So one of our first and primary advices to the public is that if you can afford going to shelter, leave the city. That’s one of the things that we have always advice members of the public of. Members of the public in Belize City may have families in Orange Walk or Belmopan and there is part of our process where we try to encourage people because of course the maintenance of a shelter involves the use of resources and it has a security consideration and a strain on our planning. So what we try to do is that we try to minimize the amount of persons in shelters for safety reasons and other practical concerns. But when you go into a shelter, because of how traditionally schools have been constructed, one of the things that we are in discussion on is to ensure that there are bathroom facilities now that are annexed on to the main structure. We have several of our shelters who have this sort of arrangement, but traditionally how schools have been built in Belize, the bathroom facilities are away from the physical main building. When you are in a hurricane, you will be locked in the building and we can’t reconstruct the school, because of financial reasons of course. So one of the things that we say is that we try to make ameliorated steps to ensure that we can provide people comfort as much as possible, but that is not our primary concern when you are in the shelter. Our primary concern is to ensure that you are safe.”

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