Belize - Disaster Risk Reduction
Belize is highly susceptible to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tropical storms, flooding and drought, which affect the country on a regular basis. Infrastructure and economic losses especially in the agricultural sector are high especially during the hurricane season: from June to November. Hurricane Mitch (1998), Tropical Storm Chantal (2001), Hurricane Dean (2007), Tropical Storm Arthur (2008), Tropical Depression # 16 (2008) and Hurricane Richard (2010) all resulted in extensive flooding and damages to the banana, sugarcane, papaya, rice, corn and vegetable industries across the country.
The three pilot villages addressed during the project, were Concepcion, Santa Martha and Calla Creek.
Conception village is located in the Corozal District, in the north of Belize. The natural disaster that affects farmers most in Concepcion Village, is drought. Santa Martha Village is located in the eastern part of the Orange Walk District and is vulnerable to floods, drought and fire. Calla Creek village located in the western part of the Cayo District, near the city of San Ignacio, is vulnerable to flooding due to its location along the banks of the Mopan River. However, drought is also a natural disaster that frequently affects farmers in this village. Both Concepcion and Santa Martha farmers are predominantly sugarcane farmers and only a few have diversified into vegetable and other agricultural production. While those in Calla creek are part-time farmers producing vegetables and raising livestock (cattle, sheep, chicken and pigs). As these small farmers are particularly vulnerable to climate related hazards, demonstrating and adopting appropriate technical options for disaster risk reduction is critical, as well as the need to strengthen capacities within the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) regarding disaster risk reduction, effective preparedness for response and rehabilitation.