PADF Trainees Assist Belize Government after Hurricane Earl

Shorlette Grant, Lynn Rodriguez and Oris Lewis assisted as the First Aid team in Hopkins, Belize.

Hurricane Earl made landfall in Belize City on August 4, 2016, causing millions of dollars in damage to infrastructure, as well as the tourism and agriculture sectors. The Southern coastal communities of Hopkins and Dangriga were better prepared to face the storm thanks to the Community Preparedness and Resilience Project, funded by Taiwan and implemented by the Pan American Development Foundation (PADF). The project assisted over 14,000 residents of Belize’s Stann Creek District in preparing for and responding to disasters. Newly-trained and equipped Community Disaster Response Teams were on hand to assist their neighbors during and after the hurricane. The project also created hazard maps, flood gauges and strengthened early warning systems in each community.

Francis Zuniga (right), a newly-elected member of the Hopkins Village Council, assisted as Shelter Manager.

PADF project participants who received disaster preparedness and risk education training through the project have been supporting the Belize National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) following Hurricane Earl.

The Government Belize continues to assess the damage, but NEMO has declared that priority areas include:

  1. Search and rescue

  2. Medical care

  3. Shelter 

  4. Clearing of debris along the highways

  5. Restoration of utilities

  6. Inspection of airports and seaports

In addition, ongoing evaluations will determine the level of required support for affected vulnerable communities isolated by the mountainous terrain and flooded rivers.

David Cruz (left) joined NEMO as part of the Search and Rescue Committee

PADF and Taiwan have been collaborating with countries throughout the region to address emergencies and natural disasters. The Taiwan-PADF Disaster Assistance and Reconstruction Fund is a five-year partnership to foster preparedness and mitigation programs. Community-based disaster preparedness projects have been carried out in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Honduras and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Disaster Assistance and Reconstruction Fund has delivered assistance to more than 282,000 people in Latin America & the Caribbean since 2012.