CDEMA hoping to begin Dorian assessment tomorrow

CDEMA hoping to begin Dorian assessment tomorrow

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (CMC) — The Barbados-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) yesterday said that it hopes the all clear would be given tomorrow to allow for a proper assessment of the damage caused by Hurricane Dorian that has weakened slightly after hitting The Bahamas as a Category Five storm.

CDEMA Executive Director Ronald Jackson told a news conference the agency and authorities in Nassau had hoped that the all clear would have been given by today, but the slow movement of the storm that had weakened to a Category Four storm, was making that impossible.

“Pessimistically, we are thinking that this is likely to be Wednesday before the all clear is given. The implications of that is it will delay any ability to get into these two islands (Abaco and Grand Bahama) and to collect specific information on the level of the impact,” Jackson told reporters.

“I know there are questions abound as to the casualties reported based on a number of reports on social media [and] people are trying to find out whether these numbers are indeed factual, whether they are higher…we don't know.”

He said the teams would be required to get on the ground and provide the information to the authorities.

CDEMA over the last weekend deployed two teams to The Bahamas to coordinate the Regional Response Mechanism.

“This deployment is in direct response to a request from the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. The rapid needs assessment teams are expected to support assessments on the family islands most impacted by Dorian in the aftermath of the event. The teams will support the Government of The Bahamas in rapidly assessing the damage from the hurricane and in prioritising needs,” CDEMA said.

Jackson told reporters that the teams would cover the two affected islands with a population of 78,000 people.

“So the teams will be going in to do their assessments,” he said, noting that the hurricane had defied the forecasts of the various agencies that had been monitoring it.

“It is not my word, it would have baffled the forecasters, it has done what they did not anticipate. First, it was supposed to have petered out,” Jackson said, noting that while the storm had passed through the Lesser Antilles “it was supposed to pass over Hispaniola, which was supposed to weaken it and turn it into a depression.

“It chose a different path that took it between the channel between Puerto Rico and Hispaniola and it strengthened there as it moved on towards The Bahamas. It was supposed to be a Category One hurricane, maybe Category Two going into a storm when it hit the US mainland, (but it has become a Category Five)”.

Jackson said regardless of the intensity of the storm, CDEMA is not fixated on its strength, adding, “what we look at is making sure that on our side we are prepared to offer response support to the governments”.

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