Hurricane season preparation almost done in Manchester, says mayor urging the people of Manchester to plan for the hurrican seasonx

MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Mayor of Mandeville Donovan Mitchell is appealing to residents here to take the necessary precautions with the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season under way, even as he insists the south-central parish is 90 per cent ready.

"I am saying to the people of Manchester, please plan. We can't say we are not having any hurricanes. It is a normal hurricane season based on what I see coming out, but you are to protect your documents. You are to make sure you have water put aside, your medication and emergency things, just in case you have to move away from your house," Mitchell told journalists at the Cecil Charlton Park in Mandeville on Tuesday.

He pointed to two flood-prone areas in the southern section of the parish which are of particular concern.

"The Alligator Pond Division and Porus, where we tend to have water rising as soon as we have a lot of rainfall, [people have] to make special preparation for this time. The hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, so I am appealing to the parish to make sure that they are prepared," he said.

File: Ward Avenue in the heart of the Mandeville's commercial centre is one of the roads usually flooded once the parish gets heavy rain.

He added that in northern Manchester, the area in and around Christiana, is usually affected by landslides.

Mitchell said there are more than 80 storm shelters in Manchester and arrangements are being made to get the necessary quota of shelter managers.

"We are about 90 per cent ready. There are some of our shelters that are in need of shelter managers. We had our meeting last month where we looked at the various entities, [including] the hospital, the JPS [Jamaica Public Service Company], and their state of readiness. We have trained the shelter managers. We have standby emergency kits in case," said Mitchell.

"We are not only prepared for hurricanes. Remember that because of the earthquake belt, we are also prepared for that and fuel spills. The disaster preparedness office at the parish council does not only prepare for hurricanes, it is prepared for any disaster — man-made or otherwise," added Mitchell, who is the chairman of the Manchester Municipal Corporation.

He urged developers and landowners to follow the building guidelines.

"There are a number of people building without the requisite permit and there are some who you have given permits and they are deviating from whatever we have given them. We have been dealing with some of these people, but I am appealing to people, if you have to build please come into the municipal corporation. Bring in your plans and let the staff look at it and we will try our best to expedite where possible. We are working with a 90-day turnaround time," said Mitchell.

"There are a number of people who have received their plans in less than 60 days, depending on the complexity of the plan, but we are asking people to bring in the plans," the mayor added.

BY KASEY WILLIAMS Observer staff reporter

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