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Jun 2, 2016

CEMO Gives Update on Readiness for Disasters

Darrell Bradley

The hurricane season opened on Wednesday and as it usually does, the City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO, held a press conference to update the public on its readiness to deal with disasters. It continues to be a work in progress, and Mayor Darrell Bradley told News Five that the most important component in dealing with disasters is the cooperation of and collaboration with the public.


Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor

“A tremendous amount of effort has gone on into showing that we are well planned and organized for this year’s hurricane season which starts today. A lot of information, as I’ve indicated in the report, a lot of training has gone on. There is a lot of collaboration and partnership with the various nine ministries and also with educational institutions. But all of that will go to naught and it will be not effective if we do not have members of the public and individuals who are involved in the effort. Routinely what we do is that we have a debriefing after the close of the hurricane season and I am very well impressed with CEMO’s expanded responsiveness. One of the things that we did at the close of last year’s debriefing was to evaluate how effectively we incorporate people with special needs. You would come to City Hall; City Hall is not handicap accessible. Many of our hurricane shelters have been upgraded for that specific purpose. CEMO committee now has a representative who is able to speak for persons with diverse abilities so that if we are able to spread the message and we are able to get stakeholder participation, people engaged with us, how our response can be more all inclusive. That was an area which I felt was not properly addressed and thankfully Councillor Willoughby and Wayne Usher were able to be much more inclusive. There are a lot of other areas that we are looking into; again this year there has been a concerted and tremendous effort to include educational institutions in the organization of CEMO and even young people and students so that we can get that information out there. But it is very critical and important that members of the public and individuals have an emergency plan and they do their part to cooperate with the various agencies managing the emergency. I will give you one example and it may sound harsh. During the last emergency, many of our staff members came to us during the emergency and said that they could not report to their post because they had to leave to go and pick up their children. That is a very important consideration, but the point that I made is that you should not think about who should pick up your children in the event of a hurricane. That is a discussion and a thought that should come long before. And the message that we want to say in having this press conference is that people need to think about what they will do in an emergency from now so that I know how I will deal with my work; I know how I will deal with my children; I know how I will deal with emergency resources; I know if Belize City has to be evacuated where I will go. All of that is part of ensuring that we are effective as a city and as a nation to ensure that in the event of an emergency, we save lives and we reduce as much as possible damage to property.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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