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As floods inundate Belize, UN crisis officials offer emergency support

As floods inundate Belize, UN crisis officials offer emergency support

United Nations crisis officials are working with local authorities in Belize to coordinate relief efforts in the wake of flooding across the Central American country caused by the first storm of the annual Atlantic hurricane season.

Staff from the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have been providing logistical and technical support over the past week to authorities, according to a UNDP news release issued yesterday.

Flooding remains particularly widespread in southern Belize, more than a week after Tropical Storm Arthur, which formed on 31 May and immediately made landfall, dumped about 15 inches of rain on the small country.

Tropical Storm Alma, which developed over the eastern Pacific Ocean in late May, also made landfall in Belize, ensuring four days of intense rain.

At least five people have been killed and three others are still missing, UNDP said. The homes of about 8,000 people have been destroyed, submerged or otherwise damaged.

National authorities have identified food, water, medicines and clothing as among the most important short-term needs, with housing construction materials and household items important in the longer term.

UN officials say they are also concerned about water and sanitation, and the risk that infectious diseases could spread as a result of contaminated waters.