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Jun 7, 2018

Hurricane Season is Here; CEMO is Ready

The hurricane season began last Friday and today, the City Emergency Management Organisation (CEMO) hosted a press briefing to share what it has done and continues to do in preparation for the Tropical Atlantic Hurricane Season. According to Chairman of the Emergency Operations Center, Mayor Bernard Wagner, they have reviewed and revised all plans and evacuation routes. A number of meetings and trainings have been held with personnel and committees have been reconstituted to better serve the needs of the City.  Wagner, Deputy Mayor Oscar Arnold and Councilor with responsibility for CEMO Michael Noralez share more on CEMO’s readiness for this hurricane season.


Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“CEMO has revised the evacuation route. We have revisited it and revised it, added additional personnel to coordinate and track evacuees from the offshore islands throughout Belize City to inland shelters. We have identified additional new pick up points for persons residing in high crime and populated areas. We have also devised a Tsunami plan because we are never out of the woods with comes to disasters. So, we at CEMO had to ensure that we put in place some sort of plan to address Tsunamis. We have also put in place a new subcommittee which is a security sub-committee which offers safety and security for citizens in emergencies.”


Michael Noralez

Michael Noralez, CEMO

“We have the transport and evacuation committee. Through experience, we learnt that you don’t wait until last minute to get the buses and talk with the owners. So, there is a constant dialogue with the committee and NEMO because we have our counterparts at NEMO who deals with this. But when it comes to buses and transportation for people, the committee is right on target.”


Oscar Arnold

Oscar Arnold, Deputy Mayor, Belize City

“A big part of that will be the coordination with the security forces and police. Because you can’t have rival gangs on the same bus or maybe in the same shelters. So, while that has become our reality, we also have to plan for that. While we want to evacuate and put people in safe areas, we can’t be creating another problem because we lack the info or the intelligence on the ground to know which areas you can man. Where before you had a pick up point where you could use one bus, because of what has been happening in the city you may need two or three buses at different pickup points because you simply can’t put people from rival areas together.”


Bernard Wagner

“We have refined and defined information on how we communicate with people; how we get the information out. Most of the times in disasters it is haphazard way of getting out the information. So, CEMO, working closely with NEMO, have been doing a great job and we want to continue to ensure that he residents of the city feel safe that this group of people that is tasked to lead them through a disaster is equipped and ready to lead.”

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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