By Aaron Humes: It’s at least six months before the hurricane season begins on June 1, but the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) is already getting ready.
This week, its team has been in Orange Walk and Belize City inspecting shelters and identifying those suitable for the general public in times of disasters and emergencies.
The team is headed by an engineer from the municipal council or the Ministry of Infrastructure Development and Housing, representatives from NEMO field office, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the Fire Department, the Police Department, and the school staff. The other locations around the country will be inspected based on the inspection program, based on the Shelter Inspections Guidelines.
Inspections are carried out before every hurricane season to ensure that the structural integrity of the building, safety, functionality, and the key amenities and issues regarding dedicated space, toilet, water, etc. are identified and addressed as early as possible.
The national shelter list will be vetted by all coordinators and their inspection teams before submission to NEMO Headquarters. That is followed by a presentation to the Minister and CEO in the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change, and Disaster Risk Management, and then to the Chairperson of the National Housing and Shelter Committee for final approval.
NEMO takes this opportunity to advise the general public, schools, churches, statutory bodies, businesses, and government ministries to start planning and implementing your 2022 emergency preparedness activities, namely inspections, training, emergency plan review, etc. All COVID-19 protocols must be adhered to.