KINGSTON, Jamaica – With the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season now under way, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, is urging Jamaicans to take the necessary precautions to protect life and property.
He said that individuals should listen for and adhere to warnings issued by the relevant authorities and ensure that they are accessing information from credible sources.
“More and more, the infodemic is becoming a major challenge… you have to manage the information that you consume, because if you consume the wrong information, it could mean your life,” he pointed out.
The prime minister was addressing a National Disaster Risk Management Council Meeting on Thursday at the Spanish Court Hotel in New Kingston.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a busy hurricane season with 12 to 17 named storms at winds of 39 miles per hour (mph) or higher.
Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including one to four major hurricanes at Category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher.
Meanwhile, the prime minister provided preparedness tips, including stocking up on simple first-aid supplies and medication and at least two days’ supply of water and food that does not need cooking or refrigeration.
The prime minister also advises the trimming of trees with branches near to buildings or electrical lines, and the storage of important documents in plastic to prevent them from getting wet.
He is imploring individuals who live in at-risk areas to be on alert and to relocate or visit a shelter when advised.
Holness said that Jamaica, like many Caribbean countries, is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, noting that the human and economic costs are substantial.
“According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Jamaica’s exposure to natural disasters ranks in the top 20 globally, and this is primarily due to our low-lying coastal zones, which is where most of our population exist and our five major fault lines,” he said.
Holness pointed out that the country has withstood approximately 40 natural disasters of a national scale between 1950 and 2017. These include hurricanes and storms, severe droughts, floods and epidemics.