Making Belize Accessible

Sep 1, 2001

Hurricane Keith shattered Belize last year. The country is now beefing up its infrastructure and revamping its ports to facilitate trade and attract investment.

Hurricane Keith plowed into northern Belize in September 2000, ripping through the coastline with winds of 135 miles per hour. A few hours later, the country's rivers were flooded, affecting 17 villages and 60,000 people, or 25% of the country's population.

 Keith inflicted damage on Belize estimated at $280 million. The country's fragile infrastructure bore the brunt of the hurricane, with damage valued at about $45 million. Keith flooded main routes and the feeder network along the northern and western highways. Total damage to the road network is estimated at $13.5 million. Seven percent of the country's installed 53.1 megawatt electrical supply was damaged.

The country's history, its small size and a low population density have held back the development of infrastructure. Only after gaining independence in 1981 was Belize able to access multilateral sources of financing. Even though the country covers only 25,000...

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