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CEMO Marks the Start of 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season with Stakeholder Symposium

May 31, 2023

CEMO Marks the Start of 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season with Stakeholder Symposium

The 2023 Atlantic Hurricane season officially begins on Thursday. To mark the start of the season, the City Emergency Management Organization (CEMO) hosted a symposium in Belize City. The event, titled “Build Disaster Resilience”, saw the participation of various stakeholders from across government ministries and humanitarian organizations. They all gathered to discuss the strengths and weaknesses identified in preparing for and responding to the devastation caused by Hurricane Lisa in November 2022. One of the areas raised for discussion was shelter management and the lessons learnt from having to shelter over one thousand six hundred residents.

Melanie Dawson

Melanie Dawson, CEMO Liaison Officer, Belize City Council

“On the day of landfall, November second 2022, Hurricane Lisa, we had approximately one thousand six hundred and fifty-three occupying the shelters on the day of Hurricane Lisa. Basically what we do, beginning of the year we do our shelter inspection to make sure everything is in place. The shelter is structurally sound and to make sure we have enough for the capacity of each shelter. We do have backup shelters as well so in the event we would have had both shelters in the Lake-I division filled. We would have used our backup shelters in that process.”

Bernard Wagner

Bernard Wagner, Belize City Mayor

“It is always in the area of shelter, shelter management, ensuring we communicate with those shelter managers and working along with national coordinators, because we at the city level is only responsible at the city, so many times you will find that the information coming from the national organization comes in a bit late. Case in point, when Hurricane Lisa was upon us we felt that it would have been coming a bit later when we found out the hurricane was upon us like right after midday. We had to really change when we open those shelters for people.”

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