How do you prepare for disasters and the effects of climate change? In Belize, our staff started with a walking tour with local officials from the Stann Creek District, who talked about the issues the community is facing.
PADF’s Belize team recently met with Dangriga Mayor Francis Humphreys and Frank "Papa" Mena, Minister of State in the Ministry of National Security, for a tour of Dangriga Town. Mayor Humphreys guided PADF through major waterways, portions of beach affected by erosion, and informal settlements where houses are sprouting up. We learned that the town boasts of 5.2 miles of beach and miles of canals, the longest of which is 3.2 miles.
The coastal community is grappling with coastal erosion, and clogged rivers and creeks that encourage flooding. Residents are building illegal wooden settlements in the mangrove floodplain. The mangroves serve as a natural catchment for runoff so the houses are at high risk of flooding. This stretches the resources of emergency services during period of heavy rains.
There is much work to be done and both municipal and national government representatives have pledged full support to our project,” says Minerva Pinelo, PADF’s project director in Belize. “Our team will evaluate all prospective areas for Dangriga and recommend the way forward.”