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May 13, 2022

Data-Driven Solutions for Coastal Erosion in Southern Belize

For years, Hopkins and Dangriga have been plagued by severe coastal erosion and an unsightly accumulation of sargassum on its shores. It is only getting worse. The National Climate Change Office and other partner stakeholders conducted a survey that yielded critical data that is useful in addressing the chronic climatic and environmental issues in these communities. The survey focused on standard information such as age, ethnicity, marital status, household roles, poverty levels, as well as the conditions of buildings and infrastructure, including the type of materials used to withstand the impacts of climate change. On Thursday, a consultation meeting was held in Hopkins to update residents on the findings of the survey. Here is more from the session.

 

Joni Grimm

Joni Grimm, Project Manager, EnGenDER Project, N.C.C.O.

“Under the EnGenDER project we have several project activities, the one today is we are working with the Belize Association of Planners where they are focusing on social barriers and obstacles to address the adverse effects of climate change impacts particularly in Hopkins Village and Dangriga Town. Today we are in Hopkins Village where all the data collected over the past months are being presented and we hope to get good positive feedback from the community. The idea is for the community is to be able to get enough information and capacity building for them to be more resilient from climate change impacts such as hurricanes and other natural disasters that affect Belize and our coastline.”

 

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford, President of the Belize Association of Planners

“We had recently done a KAP survey which is a knowledge attitude and perception survey on climate risk and disaster risk and now what we are doing is we have put everything together, all the data we have collected on those 4 elements that is buildings and infrastructure, on ecosystems and individual capacities and social policies and institutions as well as urban governance and sharing with them some of the recommendations that are necessary to build the resilience of the community to climate change. This meeting is very important to us because with all our projects we tend to be fully engaged with the community because we believe the community knows best as how to address their issues and their problems.”

 

Macario Augustin Jr.

Macario Augustin Jr., Secretary, Hopkins Village Council

“Erosion is something that happens yearly, but this is one of the most tragic ones per say. The sargassum we are experiencing is from south to north, the entire village and it is like 6 feet of sargassum. To be honest, like being on the beach from a young kid like a good 15 feet of beach has already been lost.”

 

Barbara Nunez

Barbara Nunez, Hopkins Resident

“Well with the erosion, I see that sometimes when we have the sargassum it erodes the beach but after that I see the natural process when the beach reclaims the sand back, so the natural beach comes back but from my little knowledge I have noticed that the beach is farther up like erosion is coming along the grounds or lands. For sure I live on the beach and I would not want later days to come, I have to run away to higher ground because probably the beach is eroding further and further and it is hard to stop it so I think we need to have more community minded people and use our own scientific knowledge to help us stay on our beach because it is part of our livelihood, like me I love the beach, the beach is my park so it is hard for me to wake up daily and watching it go so the workshop helps.”

 

Carolyn Trench-Sandiford

“One of the key things we emphasize coming out of this project is that you can’t look at climate change as a sector, you can’t look at it in silos, you have to look at it integrated, and I think Hopkins village represents the ideal pilot demonstration where you can bring in all elements of resilience.”


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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