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NEMO issues “All clear,” damage assessments pending

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Posted: Thursday, September 3, 2020. 12:13 pm CST.

By BBN Staff: The National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) has issued the “all clear” for the entire country as Hurricane Nana moves away from
Belize.

NEMO said that its command centers stood down at 9:00 a.m. with the exception of those in the impacted areas, with initial reports suggesting that the Stann Creek District was more affected than Toledo. NEMO notes that buildings, crops, and infrastructure received varying degrees of damage.

“There are no reports of causalities and/or major injuries. The extent of damages and losses at this time is not known,” NEMO said.

The organization notes that the initial report for low impact cyclones is due within 24 hours after the “All Clear” and that the planning for those operations is already underway. As a part of the assessment operations, the Belize Defense Force (BDF) will be doing a flyover as well as ground assessments, while authorities such as the Ministry of Works (MOW), Ministry of Health (MOH), Police Department, and the utility companies have the authority deploy throughout the country to commence addressing areas of concern, with road clearance being a major priority.

There are also plans being formulated for Search and Rescue and Damage Assessment operations. NEMO said that its National Liaison Officer for the NEMO National Assessment Committee is organizing the initial assessment, and is planning a meeting to be held within the impact zone prior to the detailed assessment which will be done in collaboration with NEMO’s Southern Regional Coordinator. All assessments must be done through and with NEMO present for it to be honored and validated. Assessing humanitarian needs will be the priority for these assessments.

The organization warns that flooding and landslides are still possible and that it is not recommended for people to walk through areas affected without it first being cleared by the Ministry of Works or the town council.

“After a hurricane, it is strongly advised to drink bottled, boiled, or treated water. Stay out of floodwaters and disaster areas as the water might be contaminated or electrically charged. Turn off your electrical switch box if your home will flood. Watch out for snakes and wild animals. Be prepared for flooding. Keep on your masks, practice social distance, clean their hands regularly, and practice good cough and sneeze etiquette,” NEMO added.

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