Climate change experts, including the Belize delegation are at COP27 defending the need for financing from developed countries, by way of loss and damage, to adapt and mitigate the effects of climate change. But there is an added fire under the negotiators as Belize was, less than two weeks ago, battered by Hurricane Lisa, an intense category one storm, leaving in its wake millions of dollars in damages to infrastructure, agriculture and more. Many are still picking up the pieces, while others remain in less-than-ideal conditions, trying to be resilient. News Five's Duane Moody gets an update on the damage in various sectors.

Duane Moody, Reporting

Around this time two weeks ago, the entire country braced itself for the inevitable - a category one hurricane was coming to make landfall somewhere between Belize City and Dangriga. Many hoped for a miracle, that somehow its path would have been diverted, but it didn't.� Hurricane Lisa barreled through central Belize, taking with it foliage, roofs, and homes, as well as plunging Belize and Cayo districts into darkness.� Today, many are back to work and school, but the damage is real, and some won't recover any time soon.

Dr. Kenrick Williams, C.E.O., Ministry of Sustainable Development, Climate Change & Disaster Risk Management

"Over the last ten days what we have done is the immediate disasters response, so supporting people with food packs, supporting people with water, supplies, material like tarps and other things that people need right away in order to respond. Then there is the face of now transition, providing people will long term support to continue the path of recovery."

Over five thousand families have been affected directly and indirectly. Chief Executive Officer in the Minister of Sustainable Development, Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management, Doctor Kenrick Williams says that several assessments have been done so far and even from an initial outlook, there are millions of dollars in damages.

Dr. Kenrick Williams

"We have estimated plus or minus about seventy-five million dollars or so in damages as a result of Hurricane Lisa."

Vividly, along streets and highways, across cities and villages, there are powerlines and transformers that have been damaged; lampposts snapped, and electrical wires down. The impact on infrastructure for the utility companies was severe, even though, for the most part, power to homes was restored within days. But that disruption of power had a rippling effect on other utilities and services.

Jose Urbina, C.E.O., Ministry of Public Utilities, Energy, Logistics & E-Governance

"Power plays such an integral role. If there is no power, there is no water. The water is affected; the telecoms industry is also affected. Small business owners, large businesses - we look at BPOs always trying to keep their operations 24/7, but the reality is in terms of a natural disaster, if they don't have a generator, they don't have power. My approach to this is looking at the damages and effects of Hurricane Lisa. We need to do an assessment. Let's grade ourselves. What is the grade we would give ourselves as the electricity, telecoms and water in terms of how we restore and from a committee standpoint, let's look at the approach."

And while Hurricane Lisa was a relatively dry weather system, it did cause damage to the agriculture sector. Agriculture C.E.O. Servulo Baeza tells News Five that the sugar industry in the west was hard hit, as were some farmers in both districts. While the assessment at this point is showing some twenty million dollars in losses, Baeza says that there will be no impact to food security.

Servulo Baeza, C.E.O., Ministry of Agriculture, Food Security & Enterprise

"A little bit of grains were loss that had not been harvested as yet. Some of our vegetable producers loss some of their produce. The sugar industry also took some battering. Santander their fields were al flattened and that will reduce the yields that we will be getting from those fields. That's basically the damage as well as to the infrastructure. Santander factory got some damage and some of the other areas. In the poultry sector, some of the chicken facilities were damaged also in Spanish Lookout."

Duane Moody

"Are we expecting that this is going to trickle down to consumers in terms of there will be shortages of any of these produce?"

Servulo Baeza

"At this moment I don't see that happened."

So, what's next for the country during its recovery and ensuring that it is resilient against another storm of similar or greater magnitude?

Dr. Kenrick Williams

"What is going to be important for us and what we want to do very differently is we want to do a very comprehensive damage assessment, which is not a rapid analysis of okay yo house get destroyed, it more or less costs this much, but we are looking at broad-scale. What are the damages for each sectors. So, we are going to use some methodology - the housing and billing assessment tool from the United Nation's Development Program, the U.N.D.P. for example, do a full-scale assessment because it can't just be building back but it has to be building back better. So how do we ensure that the damage assessment influence things like code and standards and that type of thing going forward."


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