Emergency response agencies on alert for effects of Isaac, says McKenzie

Emergency response agencies on alert for effects of Isaac, says McKenzie

Friday, September 14, 2018

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ST JAMES, Jamaica — The country's emergency response agencies are on alert as the country braces for the possible effects of a tropical cyclone, which is expected to pass south of Jamaica over the weekend.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Desmond Mckenzie, made the announcement while speaking at a special sitting of the Trelawny Municipal Corporation on Thursday.

Isaac, which was downgraded to a tropical depression on Friday, is expected to dump heavy rainfall across the island over the weekend.

Mckenzie said that although the island will not suffer a direct impact from current weather systems in the Atlantic, “precautionary measures must be taken”.

“We are now beginning to see rainfall taking place. It is very critical that we put on alert all the major players right across the country for any expectations as it relates to flooding,” he said.

He informed that shelters will be activated, if necessary, and urged councillors to keep a keen watch on flood-prone areas within their divisions.

“If shelters are to be activated, if it becomes necessary, then those decisions will be made. Councillors are urged to pay attention to communities in your respective divisions that are prone to flooding, [those] that are considered to be problem areas, and don't wait until the last moment,” he cautioned.

In the meantime, Mckenzie announced that $115 million will be made available to Municipal Corporations islandwide to carry out emergency drain cleaning over the next few days.

“This (provision)… is to ensure that we alleviate flooding. We have to look at the critical areas and ensure that drains are cleaned. So, I would urge the councillors to go out there and do what is necessary to ensure that we minimise the flooding,” he said.

Mckenzie also encouraged the local authorities to make the necessary provisions for homeless persons during the hurricane season.

“Special attention must be paid during this period to persons living on the streets across our respective municipalities.

“I would urge you, in whatever you are doing, to ensure that if and when anything happens, that provisions are made to take these persons off the streets and to get them into shelters or into the infirmaries,” he said.

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