CEMO’s official evacuation route for city residents
The 2013 hurricane season begins in June and forecasters predict that this year will see above average storm activity in the Atlantic. It is anticipated that there will be nine hurricanes from a total of eighteen named weather systems. Four of them are expected to be major storms beyond the category three grade. With that time of year less than six weeks away the City Emergency Management Organization, CEMO, is wasting no time making preparations for the upcoming period. This morning, councilor Phillip Willoughby, along with members of the coordinating committee, unveiled an official evacuation route for residents leaving Belize City and the cayes in the event of a hurricane. That designated course will see quite a number of signs erected along its stretch indicating the directions for departure and arrival.
Phillip Willoughby, Coordinator, City Emergency Management Organization
“As you can see here, we segmented a portion, each sign depicted along the emergency evacuation route for both north side and south side Belize City and also these emergency assembly point signs that will be strategically positioned for assembly areas to evacuate residents, persons in case of a national disaster emergency. These locations will be north side, Brodies Parking Lot, Lopez Mateos Park, Cinderella Plaza. South side route will start from Cumberbatch Field, the football field on Faber’s Road Extension and the basketball Court behind Jane Usher Boulevard as well as the Bus Terminal on West Collet Canal. Those will be there full time.”
“Councilor, are there any other additional features or introductions to the exiting emergency plan?”
“Well this is the first for the evacuation outlook when it comes to the transport portfolio. There are other committees, nine others, of which we meet every three weeks here at the council as the city emergency management committees. All aspects are look at during the discussions as well as there are meetings that occur at the national level with NEMO.”
“Could you explain what are the evacuation route and when they will be put into effect should there be a storm?”
“Okay, these signs will be made and thereafter shortly these signs will be erected. And they should be up by the pronouncement of the hurricane season. The route will be firstly for the Cayes, they would come to the marine terminals—Caye Caulker Water Taxi and San Pedro Express. They would then take Marine Parade connecting to the Princess Margaret Drive and continue northerly and take Coney Drive. That’s the first exit. The second would be the Philip Goldson Highway and for trafficking continuing southerly, they can connect and utilize mahogany Street, Mahogany Street Extension, Lacroix Boulevard, Holy Emmanuel until it connects to the George Price Highway. Second would be Vernon Street to exit on to Western Avenue and on to the George Price Highway. Coming down Faber’s Road could also be used to exit the city. The only main entrance to the City would be Faber’s road extension connecting down to Central American Boulevard and if you want to continue south side or integrate with wider downtown or the inner city streets, you would connect to Caesar Ridge Road.”
A disaster preparedness training is scheduled for Thursday morning here at the Channel Five Headquarters to further enhance the skills of those who will be a part of Belize City’s operation management and shelter management teams.