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Recognizing the need to bridge a critical gap in its national emergency system, the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), on behalf of the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Development, Families and Indigenous Peoples’ Affairs, and the Ministry of Health & Wellness, met on Friday, June 25, 2021, in the Belize City Council Caucus Room and formed NEMO’s 15th National Committee, the National Special Needs and Disability Committee (NSNDAC).

The committee will assist persons with special needs and disabilities in times of emergencies and disasters. The committee will also enable NEMO to be better prepared to protect Belize’s most vulnerable citizens who typically live in low-income, hazardous areas that are lacking in critical infrastructure, have the least resources, are the least mobile, and are at higher risk to natural hazards. In the advent of a major catastrophic event, such persons are likely to be most impacted if a comprehensive and integrated system is not in place.

The terms of reference and membership were reviewed and updated and next steps were identified, including setting up a database, establishing construction standards for differently-abled persons, training, and sign language communicators for news and emergency alerts.

The committee is chaired by Mr. Marshall Nunez with co-chairs from the ministries of Education and Health & Wellness and the National Association of Village Councils. The National Special Needs and Disability Committee will have representation at the NEMO national executive and district levels.

The public and corporate stakeholders are called to recognize and support the work of the committee.