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Disaster Preparedness and Response Act (No. 10 of 2000)

This Act provides for the organisation of State actions for the mitigation of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from disasters in Belize. It includes requirements for public inquiries in the decision-making process of plans, programmes and policies.

Active transparency (Sections 4, 8 and 11)

The National Emergency Coordinator shall in collaboration with Government or other agencies, gather timely and authoritative information concerning the conditions and trends in the quality of the environment, both current and prospective, as these relate to the likelihood of disasters in Belize as well as analyze and interpret such information.  

The Co-ordinating Unit shall establish arrangements with regional media houses designed to ensure the dissemination of reliable information on national disasters to the public. 

The National Disaster Preparedness Response Plan shall include procedures for informing the public in Belize and elsewhere of the existence of and state of affairs during a threatened disaster alert. 

Participation in plans, programmes and policies (Sections 4, 6, 15, 17 and 18 and Schedule A)

The Coordinator shall liaise with persons and organisations within and without Belize for the purpose of exchanging information and facilitating the harmonisation of the policies of such persons and organisations with those of the Government of Belize relating to the prevention and mitigation of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from emergencies and disasters in Belize. 

National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee: shall include such other persons or organisations as the Prime Minister thinks fit who volunteer or are required by law to perform functions related to disaster and emergency management. The National Coordinator shall consult the National Disaster Preparedness and Response Advisory Committee in the preparation of the Policy Review. 

Determination of specially vulnerable areas: Before approving the draft Order delimiting a specially vulnerable area, the Prime Minister shall arrange for a public inquiry  at which the National Coordinator shall present the draft Order for discussion and comment. The National Coordinator shall, by notice in the Gazette and at least one newspaper published in Belize, invite submissions from the public relating to the contents of a draft special area precautionary plan. The National Coordinator shall allow a period of not less than four weeks and not more than eight weeks for the receipt by him of such submissions. Any person shall have access to any technical studies used in the preparation of the draft special area precautionary plan.  The draft special area precautionary plan shall be published in the Gazette.

Right to appeal (Section 26)

Any person aggrieved by a special area precautionary plan for a specially vulnerable area, who desires to question the validity thereof or of any provision contained therein on the grounds that it is not within the powers of this Act or that any requirement of this Act or of any Regulations has not been complied with in relation to the approval or preparation of the plan may, within six weeks from the date on which the notice is published in the Gazette make an application to the Supreme Court in accordance with any Rules of Court for the time being in force.

Environmental education (Section 4)

The National Emergency Coordinator shall conduct programmes of public information and education on the mitigation of, preparedness for, response to and recovery from emergencies and disasters.