International — 17 August 2012 — by Adele Ramos
$763,000 in agricultural losses due to Ernesto

Papaya losses estimated at $695,000


Hurricane Ernesto passed right north of Belize, through Mexico, causing minimal impact on the country; however, the cyclone did leave behind a trail of damage in the agricultural sector of northern Belize.

According to the Initial Situation Assessment Report received by Cabinet on Tuesday, August 14, 2012, the sector suffered $763,000 in direct losses, mostly due to 23 acres of papaya loss from Bomba and Little Belize, Corozal, tagged at $695,000. The remaining losses included corn, plantain, sweet pepper, and apiaries (bees).

Sugar cane losses, according to the report published by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), were not included in the figure and they are expected to be negligible.

The report said that 180,000 people across Belize felt varied impacts of Hurricane Ernesto. The shelters were occupied by 592 people seeking refuge from the storm, while 911 evacuated the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker and stayed on the mainland until the hurricane passed.

National Emergency Coordinator Noreen Fairweather told Amandala that any assistance program to farmers of the north will be determined after the final assessment is in.

She told us that NEMO is currently monitoring the flooding situation in the north, in places like Trial Farm and San Estevan, which has resulted from heavy rains associated with the remnants of Tropical Depression #7, which is now moving into the Gulf of Mexico.

NEMO today opened official shelters in Corozal, including Corozal Community College, Libertad Methodist School, and Guadalupe RC School, to accommodate persons whose homes have been flooded out in the overnight rains.

The Rio Hondo is still rising, said Fairweather.

The forecast, she said, is for the system to pass later today and the weather should clear up tonight.

The south of Belize, she said, has reported no issues.

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