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Being better prepared for flooding in the Belize River Basin

HighlightsBeing better prepared for flooding in the Belize River Basin

Photo: The five participants of the 91 hours of training in Taiwan along with Hon. Orlando Habet, Her Excellency Ambassador Lily Li-Wen Hsu, and Dr. Kenrick Williams

by Orlando Pulido

SANTA ELENA, Cayo District, Tues. May 14, 2024

The Flood Warning Capacity Improvement Project (FWCIP) that covers the Belize River Basin is a 1.6 million USD assistance program from Taiwan that began in December 2022 and ends in 2025. It involves communities in San Ignacio, Belmopan and the Belize District that are most at-risk of being impacted when the levels of the Belize River rise.

A ceremony was held on Monday, May 13, to mark the closing of a training exercise for an interdepartmental response team as part of the ongoing execution of the project.

In her remarks, Her Excellency, Ambassador Lily Li-Wen Hsu from the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan), said, “Taiwan is honored to play a critical endeavor …” Ambassador Lily Hsu also said that Belize remains a strong voice in the global response to climate change, and that the Government and people of Taiwan are grateful for that.

L-R: Dr. Kenrick Williams, CEO of Sustainable Development and Climate Change; Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development and Climate Change; Her Excellency Ambassador Lily Li-Wen Hsu, the Embassy of the Republic of China (Taiwan); Robert Shong Tsair Pan, Chief of Taiwan Technical Mission

Hon. Orlando Habet, Minister of Sustainable Development and Climate Change, also gave remarks on the recent training of a team of five Belizeans during a 91-hour course in Taiwan, which he said “… has been a very good step in moving forward.” Minister Habet commented that the newly trained government workers had gained a wealth of experience and knowledge.

Hon. Orlando Habet and Her Excellency Ambassador Lily Li-Wen Hsu presenting a certificate to Dwayne Scott from the National Meteorological Service

Those five members who were in Taiwan from May 15th to April 2nd were: Dwayne Scott from the National Meteorological Service, Emerson Garcia from the National Hydrological Service, Jason Jose Campos from the National Fire Service, Adrian Cus from the Department of Rural Transformation, and Jorge Nabet from the Forest Department. All were recipients of certificates handed over by the Hon. Orlando Habet and Her Excellency, Ambassador Lily Li-Wen Hsu.

“[I recommend] stronger interdepartmental cooperation among the National Met Service, the National Hydrological Service, and NEMO (the National Emergency Management Organization). I recommended that each of these agencies — not just those three — but all the agencies that are responsible [sic] participate closely with disaster response, should have a focal point, a trained person that will [give] feedback to the various agencies what we can do to improve the departments,” said Dwayne Scott, an electronics technician responsible for the National Meteorological Service’s observation network, after receiving his certificate of recognition. Scott believes that Belize has the human resources available to implement basic non-engineering methods of resilience against disasters.

Jason Tuan Jul-Chan, Project Director of the Flood Warning Capacity Improvement Project in the Belize River Basin

Project leader of the FWCIP, Jason Tuan Jui-Chan told Amandala that members of the public first have to know what are flood disasters, and their causes, and “… then they can start to prepare themselves.” He said that his mission was to establish resilient communities during floods, and that doing so requires updated disaster prevention methods and the introduction of real-time monitoring technologies.

Ronald Gordon, the Chief Meteorologist from the National Meteorological Service of Belize, was present for the closing of the interdepartmental response team training on Monday. He promised to have briefings extended to both the National Hydrological Service and NEMO as “it will be an active hurricane season this year.”

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