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3,000 damage assessments completed in aftermath of Hurricane Lisa

Headline3,000 damage assessments completed in aftermath of Hurricane Lisa

Photo: Tenille Hendy – Deputy Chair, Damage Assessments & Needs Analysis Committee

Deputy Chair of the Damage Assessments Committee, Tenille Hendy, says witnessing first-hand the extent to which families have been affected by the storm has been heartwrenching.

by Khaila Gentle
BELIZE CITY, Mon. Nov. 14, 2022

The Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis Committee has been on the ground working since the day after Hurricane Lisa made landfall. For the past ten days, they have been assessing the levels of damage caused by Lisa countrywide, and according to the Committee’s Deputy Chair, Tenille Hendy, some 3,000 assessments have been completed, with 2,500 of those being in Belize City.

According to Hendy, public officers working with the committee have seen varying levels of damage, especially in Belize City. The assessment scale used includes four levels of damage: Damage 1, which means there was little significant damage; Damage 2, or Minor Damage; Damage 3, or Major Destruction; and Damage 4, or Total Destruction.

“We’re seeing a variety of structures being affected differently … I would say that the wooden structures have taken a beating. We are seeing [structures] sized 10×10 going right up. Those are the structures that have taken a beating—made out of plycem or some combination of wood and concrete or wood itself,” she explained.

Of all the homes assessed in Belize City, Hendy says that 280 of them can be categorized as having undergone Total Destruction, and as assessments continue, that number may increase. The committee also found that many of the homes severely affected or completely destroyed by Lisa were wooden structures with zinc roofs.

“Since we started last week Thursday, every day we have had more than 40 public officers out conducting damage assessments, and they did not rest over the weekend. We also have the help of the BDF. It would be remiss of me to not mention them, because they have also been out with us doing foot patrols as well,” said Hendy.

And while the restless days on foot patrol may be tiring for the officers, witnessing the effects of Hurricane Lisa on families across the country has been emotional, to say the least.

“At 8 Miles, we had a family who thought that their home was safe, and throughout the storm, it just unfolded and they sustained broken limbs, and they don’t have any family, or anybody else, so they’re basically in dire straits. The same in La Democracia, we had somebody just happy that they got a new home, and then the hurricane came and took it away. They are expecting a child, and they are living out of a car,” she said.

“You know we complain about not having water, or electricity in times like these. People don’t have clothes; they don’t have somewhere to stay,” she later added.

According to Hendy, the committee’s database is currently indicating that there are a total of 500 affected families, though this is not the official tally, as assessments are still ongoing.

The public officers who have been conducting assessments, Hendy says, have been stirred by what they’ve seen and have personally wanted to help out affected families, but for the time being, in their capacity as members of the Disaster Assessment and Needs Analysis Committee, the best they can do is pass their data onto the other NEMO committees that are responsible for providing disaster relief.

Along with the assessments, the committee has also been receiving reports from other committees and sectors of Government, all of which will ultimately be compiled to produce the official national report on the destruction caused by Hurricane Lisa.

“So all these different sectors—all of them, educational, government, everybody. As much data as is submitted to us, we include in that report as the national report, because that will be the report ultimately that says what was the impact the country sustained,” Hendy said.

The Damage Assessment and Needs Analysis Committee is one of thirteen special committees operating under the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). Another such committee is the Relief Supply Management Committee. Last week, in an article dated Monday, November 7, we reported on the assistance that that committee has been providing to the residents of Belize City. In the article, Chairperson Ganesha Smith explained that the committee had already provided some 5,000 food and cleaning supply packages to families.

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