National Emergency Management Organization of Belize
NEMO are assigned Civil Service people of many different departments, to an Emergency Managment Organization to deal with disasters in the country of Belize.
A recent construction in Belize, NEMO is in answer to criticisms from the Belize Development Issues Reports of how to handle various forward looking disasters that might occur in Belize. In past decades, government response was relatively simple and unsophisticated, and mostly geared to department heads securing their own offices and equipment of a centralized government.
Due to criticism, the centralized Government of Belize responded with an organization called NEMO. Some practice sessions were held and committees were formed. The first real test came in Hurricane Keith. This hurricane sat on top of the two heavily populated main tourist offshore islands along the barrier reef and created a huge disaster, and later flood zones created by rainfall on the mainland. With some prodding from the Belize Development TRUST an NGO, before, during and after the Hurricane, NEMO worked extremely well. So well in fact, that by the time, Caribbean military fleets of both Great Britain and the USA arriving on the scene some 3 to 4 days after the disaster with assistance, found most of the situation was well in hand and they were not needed, and these great world powers were relegated to minor security roles and quickly disappeared from the scene after a short while, leaving things in the hands of a NEMO machine that seemed to work flawlessly.
Hurricane Iris offers a different challenge, in that much of the damage happened in very remote and difficult of access farms, rural subsistance farming communities and large plantations, along with some fair sized towns and communities. The economic impact is going to hurt the small economy of Belize for several years into the future, drastically. Despite, a government that has suddenly found itself virtually bankrupt with no money, NEMO is still working well. Indications are; that despite the different and new disaster challenges, the lessons of working through Hurricane Keith have been learned. The financial resources this time around though, are not really there. During Hurricane Keith, there was some International Loan money deposited in Central Bank and this was used to oil the recovery effort, with every sign of money well spent, at the expense of ongoing projects. The recovery lead by NEMO was excellent and rapid! This time around with Hurricane Iris, coming so soon after Hurricane Keith, no money is available to dip into. Probably, the only factor really hurting Belize and NEMO at this time. Is lack of financial resources to do what they did after Hurricane Keith. Otherwise the organization, the expertise and skill are still there and so are the human resources. With what they have, they are doing well.
Politically, there does not seem to be any clash between NEMO and politicians. NEMO seems to be relatively indpendent and thus is doing a superb job. The political part seems to be regulated to finding money to pay for rescue and reconstruction efforts.
Belize Development TRUST (NGO)
P.S. There are websites for NEMO, the Government of Belize, the Belize Development Trust (NGO), the Belize Development Issues on our internet library project.