St James ready for hurricane season, says Disaster Preparedness Committee
MONTEGO BAY, St James — THE St James Disaster Preparedness Committee says plans are in place to meet and address any challenge that the present hurricane season may pose.
Following a meeting of the Committee at the St James Parish Council last week, Disaster Preparedness Co-ordinator for the parish, Tamoy Sinclair, noted that all is in place to meet the 2014 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
According to Sinclair, stakeholders, including the Police, the Jamaica Public Service, Fire Department, the ministries of Health and Labour, as well as the Poor Relief Department attended the meeting, where a comprehensive update was given.
"Our stakeholders outlined their respective plans, and as a group we explored every aspect in an effort to ensure that the parish of St James and its residents will not be adversely affected in the event of a storm, heavy rains or a major hurricane," she said.
Sinclair advised that there is an on-going drain-cleaning programme across the parish, with most focus being placed on the major drains, especially the North and South Gullies, which run through the centre of downtown Montego Bay.
The co-ordinator noted that 63 of 70 official emergency shelters across the parish are in a state of readiness.
"We are extremely happy with the work that has taken place over the past few months and remain optimistic that everything will be in place during the season," said Sinclair.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has forecast eight to 13 named storms and three to six hurricanes. One or two of these could strengthen into a major storm, in what the US -based agency is predicting to be near-normal or below-normal season.