hurricaneThe hurricane season was officially declared opened on Saturday June 1st with 21 named storms of which nine are expected to become hurricanes with 4 being major storms between categories 3 to 5. With this year promising to be an active season, Belizeans across the country are making preparations should any system develop.

But even though Belize is constantly saved from the wrath of Mother Nature, flooding is a disaster that affects many people especially those living in the low lying areas. With this in mind the Orange Walk District Emergency Management Organization prepares every year for the hurricane season ensuring that hurricane shelters are available and that there are public officers willing to assist should there be a storm.

Zuleima Celiz, O/W District Coordinator NEMO

“Well, I can say NEMO Orange Walk is prepared, we have been meeting with the different committees and right now we are waiting for all the chairman’s to take their position after June we will be meeting with them and getting them ready and so far I have been meeting with the ones that have been elected and we are standing off good.”

Irvin Aragon – Reporter

“What are some of the shelters that have been enlisted for this hurricane season?”

Zuleima Celiz, O/W District Coordinator NEMO

“All the villages have a shelter and they have been inspected by our engineer, we do that on a yearly basis and if minor repairs need to be done that is being done through the ministry.  Well, we work on evacuation routes that will be taken, we work with the villages as the chairpersons for each village are the front line defenders, we communicate with them and we assist them with anything that needs to get done in the village, we have different public officers that chair the different committees and everybody knows their roles and responsibilities so everything is pretty much in place right now.  Tomorrow we will be having an emergency meeting with the committee to just review the plan.”

According to the Coordinator for DEMO Orange Walk, Zuleima Celiz, they have met to revise and improve their plan for this year and encourage people to the same.

Zuleima Celiz, O/W District Coordinator NEMO

“Well, all the people that live on the low line area know this is a yearly thing and they have to prepare before the flood comes and they have to prepare the stuff, secure their belonging before the waters in their door steps and we are asking them to stay in tune if any system is out there and to just listen to their radios and be prepared.  Yes, we have a plan, we have our emergency plan which is being revised every year and we do that with all the different committees, we have twelve committees and each one of them have a plan that we put in when a disaster is out.”

With the hurricane season upon us Belizeans are reminded of the old saying; if you fail to plan then you plan to fail which simply means it is better to have a plan in place than to be caught off guard.