The communities of Biscayne and Gardenia are among first villages affected by the unusually long dry season. But of course those are not the only communities prone to the effects of drought. In fact, many rural communities are still using the well and pump system, which is affected by the long , dry spells. In the earlier part of this month, the Belize Meteorological Service issued a drought watch. More worrisome is that there appears to be no relief in terms of rainfall; at least not for the next month or so. Minister Godwin Hulse, who goes by many titles, including the Minister for the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), says that all the Ministry is doing at this time is hoping and praying for rain.
Hon. Godwin Hulse: It’s a combination of the MET Department and NEMO. We have had continued discussions, yes we’re monitoring to see how our situation is. We get updated reports on our water table and our river levels etcetera etcetera. Of course government is very cognizant, there has been no serious complaint yet. The main thing is we are praying, and you know in the old days if we were in the Mayan Era we would have the rain dance but we too are praying. As a matter of fact personally my tanks, and I do have my water tanks and they are running low as well. We are monitoring the situation and we will ensure the populous that in this country we are not going to suffer significantly when it comes to portable water for households, schools etcetera. We can’t say the same thing for agricultural situations because that requires its own irrigation and many farms do not have irrigation but we’re just hoping that the rains will come sometime soon.
As it relates to drought in the agriculture sector, Hon. Edmund Castro says he is already getting some calls from farmers in his constituency who are beginning to feel the pinch of this unusually dry spell.
Hon. Edmund Castro: Within the next coming week, week or so, you will hear more from the farmers who are taking a licking really with the cattle. Those with livestock, we need to try and see how we can probably assist them with their watering hole, which is going dry especially those farmers in the Belize River Valley Area. I start to receive calls from the farmers in the Crooked Tree Area, in the BlackMouth area where the livestock are beginning to take a lick. It’s an ongoing challenge for us in the Rural constituency where we have cattle and livestock and different livestock and people’s needs that need to get met especially in these trying times.
A report from the Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture, IICA, says that the effects of El Niño, which is causing the extended dry weather in Belize, might continue to cause problems well into the next year. The areas mostly affected are the Northern and Central parts of Belize. The Southern Part of Belize is expected to experience regular rain fall.