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Hurricane season is here, NEMO is ready – are you?

Posted: Monday, June 3, 2019. 2:53 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The official list of shelters and hurricane names has been released for the now-underway 2019 Atlantic hurricane season which kicked off on Saturday.

Each district has a list of “internal shelters” for storms under 100 miles per hour, and “external shelters” for those above 100 miles per hour.

Already, one sub-tropical storm, Andrea, has formed in mid-May.

The forecasts call for a fairly active season of between 12 and 16 named storms, 5 to 7 hurricanes and 2 to 3 major hurricanes (Category 3 and above).

Belize’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) remains continuously active, reviewing its activities of the previous season and preparing for the next.

“A lot of people would think that NEMO prepares for hurricane season June to November; but in essence as soon as the hurricane season finishes, end of November, we start preparation and self-assessment, in terms of checking to see what we did right, what didn’t work, how we could improve the organization,” NEMO Minister Edmond Castro told the Government Press Office.

National Emergency Coordinator Shelton Defour noted that district coordinators under his leadership have been in training and outreach since January, talking to schools, doing shelter assessment and community preparedness training, search and rescue training, and planning.

But the most important piece of advice NEMO has is for Belizeans themselves to prepare.

“You have to have a plan of action – where will you shelter from the storm? Think about your life, life comes first. Where will you protect your life and that of your family? Know your shelter, know the route that you’ll get there. You need food, you need water and you need medication,” Defour said.

The Minister added, “if you know a storm is coming, you hear on the radio NEMO’s telling you to move away from low-lying areas, flood-prone areas – listen to the warning that we give out, so that we could continue to have the record of not losing not one life, because one life lost is one too much.”

Belize was last hit by a major storm, Earl, in 2016.

 

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