In response to Hurricane Earl, which struck Belize on 4 August 2016 causing significant damages across the country, the European Commission has provided €50,000 in humanitarian funding to assist the most affected populations.
This funding will support the Belize Red Cross in delivering much-needed relief assistance, including access to safe water, sanitation services and hygiene promotion, reduction of risks for vector and waterborne diseases, non-food items and livelihood assistance for the most vulnerable families.
The humanitarian aid will directly benefit 2 200 people, who had their homes damaged and are currently without water and electricity supply, in areas being affected by flash floods.
The funding is part of the EU’s overall contribution to the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC).
Hurricane Earl made landfall in Belize on 4 August, as a category 1 hurricane, with wind gusts of up to 110 km/h causing significant damages to homes and infrastructure, blocking roads and isolating numerous communities with widespread power outages. Schools, markets, airports and ports were closed and water supply affected in several parts of the country. Initial assessments indicated that 3,500 people were evacuated to 94 shelters across the country.
The European Commission has signed a €3 million humanitarian delegation agreement with the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to support the Federation’s Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF). Funds from the DREF are mainly allocated to small-scale disasters – those that do not give rise to a formal international appeal.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund was established in 1985 and is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors.