Belize: Floods DREF Operation No. MDRBZ001

Situation Report
Originally published


Glide No. FL-2008-000198-BLZ

The International Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is a source of un-earmarked money created by the Federation in 1985 to ensure that immediate financial support is available for Red Cross and Red Crescent response to emergencies. The DREF is a vital part of the International Federation's disaster response system and increases the ability of national societies to respond to disasters.

CHF 119,300 (USD 109,049 or EUR 75,987) has been allocated from the Federation's Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) on 28 October to support the National Society of Belize in delivering immediate assistance to some 2,000 beneficiaries. Unearmarked funds to repay DREF are encouraged.

Summary: Tropical depression 16 drenched Belize with constant rain, overflowing several rivers affecting many villages in Cayo, Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Belize districts. This DREF operation is focused in providing the most affected with essential relief items and to jump start activities for the Belize Red Cross Society (BRCS). Since other countries in Central America were affected by the same phenomena, this DREF operation will be included in the Central America emergency appeal operation.

This operation is expected to be implemented over nine months, and will therefore be completed 30 July, 2009; a Final Report will be made available by 30 October, 2009 (three months after the end of the operation).

The situation

The emergency began as a result of heavy rains caused by Tropical Depression number 16, on 16 October, 2008. Several areas of the country remain flooded with river water levels rising. Several sections of Cayo district have been declared disaster area. Approximately 24 communities have been severely impacted affecting some 38,000 people. Temporary emergency shelters were opened housing 400 evacuated people while others are staying with friends and family. Livelihoods in farming, commerce and tourism have been affected due to floods, but also due to interruptions in transportation. Many of the affected people are farmers who depend for their means of living on their crops; due to the floods they have lost corn, rice, beans and papaya among others. They therefore may require food assistance.

Heavy rain causing flash floods hit other districts including Orange Walk, Stann Creek and Belize districts. The District Emergency Committee in Cayo district responded swiftly to the emergency and remains on high alert in the flooded areas across the country. Rescue teams are performing damage and need assessments in Calla Creek, Arenal, Bullet Tree Falls, 7 miles and Georgeville. According to the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) a team of four doctors was deployed to Calla Creek in Cayo district to attend those who require medical attention.

The Emergency Committee in Orange Walk district is performing damage and need assessments and is distributing food items to the flood victims in the areas of Guinea Grass, Santa Martha, Trial Farm and Carmelita (in Orange Walk). 52 people were evacuated and placed in a multi purpose center in Orange Walk Town. The other people are staying with family members in Guinea Grass Village.

No major damages have been reported in Corozal district although some shelters were opened assisting 42 people. Members of the District Emergency Committee have been assessing damages in the flooded areas in Corozal Town. The areas affected by the flooding are Chula Vista, White Cocal and Port-Sal.

It is also important to note that the Belize Red Cross Society has been implementing a relief operation to respond to Tropical Storm Arthur, since June of this year.