More Family, Community and Government Collab Needed in Disaster Mitigation

Satellite image of Hurricane Fran from September 1996.
Satellite image of Hurricane Fran from September 1996.

ST. JOHN’S -Like the rest of the world, Montserrat is counting on forecaster predictions of low activity in the Caribbean hurricane season, however officials are preparing and encouraging residents to work together and be vigilant.

Public and private sector stakeholders met on Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) for the annual hurricane conference to review the island’s preparedness.

Included in the group are technicians from the Governor’s Office, Montserrat Volcano Observatory, Ministries of Communication, Health and the Human Resources Management Unit.

Discover Montserrat spoke to Director of the DMCA Billy Darroux about the state of Montserrat’s readiness and what we need to do to be better prepared.

With storms seemingly transitioning more quickly from depressions into hurricanes, being prepared for any eventuality is the best practice, Darroux said. “Planning and exercising should be up to the standards that allows families, communities, industries, sectors and government to respond in a three day time frame. Weather events have comparatively long lead times, so if response plans for other emergencies are in place it should simple be a case of taking action before a storm strikes.”

“Montserrat’s infrastructure is relatively good as it relates to direct impact from heavy wind and rain events. The island needs some work done on the response and recovery planning essential to reduce human suffering, and restore normalcy to all communities and sectors after an event,” he added.

The DMCA director also wants to see families, communities and government “engage more actively, and collaboratively on planning and mitigation for weather related events.”

As a reminder here are some of the things residents should do:

  • Identify risks from hazards
  • Assess your vulnerability from the hazard – lives and health status, house, business/livelihood, dependants, disabilities
  • Reduce the risk where possible – includes seeking help, making plans and arrangements at the family, community and sector levels
  • Prepare a recovery plan for livelihoods and businesses (one needs to make a living after surviving)
  • Keep up to date with trends and information on hazards

Forecasters are predicting that the 2015 Caribbean hurricane season will be one of the least active since the mid 20th century.
The probability of one hurricane tracking into the Caribbean during the year is 22 percent versus an historical average of 42 percent, climatologists at the University of Colorado said on April 9.
For the Atlantic Basin as a whole, they predict seven named storms and three hurricanes with one hurricane becoming a major category 3, 4 or 5. The predictions are based on an analysis of 29 years of historical data.
The low activity will be the result of cooler than normal temperatures followed by a moderate El Niño event (warmer than normal temperatures).

To get more information on preparing for disasters contact the DMCA at dmca@gov.ms or Tel 664-491-7166.

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