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Aug 23, 2007

NEMO minister asks people to stay focused

Story PictureAnd while ninety thousand dollars can help a lot of people, according to Minister Responsible for NEMO, Godfrey Smith, a tally of the damage comes in at around fifty million dollars. This morning he told News Five about the work to be undertaken and how it will be financed.

Godfrey Smith, Minister Responsible for NEMO
“Replacement of homes entirely or partial repairs to homes, replacement of agricultural crops, getting those up and running. We focus on papayas and sugar cane, but bear in mind there are a number of small farmers who do their green peppers, who do fruits like watermelon, who do bee keeping. We can’t lose sight of that just because they are small, there’s also a need there. And other infrastructural things like damage to piers, culverts, streets, patching up streets, it adds up at the end of the day.”

“I know that certainly a representative of the I.D.B. has made contact and a representative from the European Union should also be in Belize or will shortly be in Belize. And obviously there is a foreign assistance committee, which is headed up by officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. That specific committee’s task is to take that damage assessment report and in conjunction with other international people, for instance there was a U.N. agency,United Nations, UNDAC, with responsibility for disaster, they in conjunction with the foreign affairs committee of NEMO, then approach all our international friends, international donors, countries, present it to them and see how we can find the money to deal with it.”

One of the first foreign donors to provide emergency relief was the government of the United Kingdom. Two Royal Navy ships based in the Caribbean have been dispatched to Belize. Working in cooperation with personnel from BATSUB and the Belize Defence Force, the sailors have been working in villages to help with road clearing, roof repairs and the provision of temporary electrical power. Local business houses are also responding to the emergency. A release from the Benny’s group of companies indicates they are donating one thousand sheets of plywood and Plycem along with screws and fasteners to NEMO’s relief effort. Delivery of those building materials was set to commence today.

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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