On Tuesday night in Belize City there was localized flooding as a result of a low pressure system in the immediate area of Belize. It was forecasted by the Weather Bureau but not expected to have the impact it did. Coordinator for the City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO), Wayne Usher, says the Council was caught unawares.
Wayne Usher – CEMO Coordiator:
Last night, both the Councilor responsible for CEMO, Councilor Willougby, and I were called after Midnight last night. In particular, I need to just mention that P.C. number 228, Mr Co, should be commended because he was at the Communications Center, and he had the presence of mind to call first to Miss Sharlene Rudon from the Council, about the increasing calls they were getting at the Police Communications Center, about the flooding in Belize City. He really wanted to find someone from the Council to communicate with what to do, so he called Miss Rudon. Miss Rudon gave my number and the Councilor’s number, and we were both called. That helped to spark this meeting that we have, and the meeting this morning.
Wayne Usher commended the Police Department for its prompt response but acknowledged that CEMO needs to prepare for these eventualities as a result of effects of climate change. Councilor in charge of emergency management Philip Willoughby responded to the concerns.
Philip Willoughby – Councilor, Emergency Management:
There will be a partial activation of the Belize City EOC here at our head office, whereby an emergency task force will be put into operation to provide logistical support where needed for residence of the city to evacuate. Police officers will be assigned to our EOC at 5:00 o’clock to provide security services as we implement and execute the plan of action. The contact numbers are for any resident of Belize City to contact us here at the EOC – 227-2308, 227-2622, 227-2308, 227-3073 and 227-7205. After communicating with the EOC or the various other agencies who provide emergency support – they will be then transported the the Bishop Sylvester Memorial Center where they will be housed for a short period of time.
CEMO has agreed to house affected persons at the Bishop Sylvester Memorial Center on Regent Street for a short period but they must bring their own supplies. The organization will continue to monitor the effects of the weather system and Chief Meterologist Dennis Gonguez told reporters that the Met Service will better coordinate with its partners for similar events.