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Ministry of Disaster Risk Management Prepares for Above Average Hurricane Season

Another above-normal Atlantic hurricane season has been predicted with two named storms already formed but failing to develop into a hurricane. Even though forecasters predict a sixty percent chance of an above-normal season, they do not anticipate the historic level of storm activity seen last year. The National Emergency Management Organization and the Ministry of Sustainable Development, Disaster Risk, and Climate Change is making sure that it is fully prepared. CEO in the Ministry, Doctor Kenrick Williams says that the national response strategy is being enhanced and several committees have been formed and given specific task.

Dr.Kenrick Williams, CEO, Ministry of Sustainable Development, Disaster Risk, Climate Change: “We look at the NEMO structure. We’ve done a lot of training with our public officers and our response mechanism. We’ve expanded our committees so for instance we’ve divided maritime committee which does the maritime evacuation which is separate from search and rescue. We’ve introduced a new committee to deal with disabled persons because we think that is a sector of the population that have been overlooked and so in our response this year we’ve really built that mechanism. We’ve strengthened our procurement processes, we’ve looked at all of the response we need, how quickly we respond, what were some of the gaps. We did a hazard mapping analysis that really informed where are some of the trouble areas so we see last year with San Ignacio and Santa Elena that area the triggering response were not enacted and so because of that the impacts of that event were significant. So we’ve looked those things and we’ve built out the response mechanism up stream and down stream so that we can respond better. We have looked at the infrastructure, worked with the Ministry of Infrastructure to look at where are some of the trouble areas, looking at the various waterways and what we need to do to alleviate some of the backlog in terms of flow and all of these things. So I think this year we’ve done a lot to really strengthen out and build out our response mechanism.”