CHARLESTOWN Nevis – WITH the 2019 Hurricane Season underway, Deputy Premier of Nevis, Hon. Alexis Jeffers is urging citizens and residents to have in place a preparedness plan.
Speaking on the start of the season, Jeffers advised all to put themselves in a position where they would be resilient and climate smart.
The Nevis Disaster Management Department has embraced a comprehensive disaster management strategy that focuses on reducing risks and enhancing resilience of the island, the Deputy Premier intimated.
His comments came on the backdrop of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announcing its predictions for the 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
According to Jeffers, the NOAA is predicting a 70 percent chance of nine to 15 named storms with winds of 39 miles per hour or higher, where four to eight could become hurricanes, with two to 4 major hurricanes that could reach Category three, four or five.
“The impact of Climate Change and Climate Variability is real. Climate Change is now affecting every country on every continent. It is disrupting national economies and affecting lives, livelihoods, communities and countries at alarming rates.
“Although the evidence suggests weather patterns are changing, weather events are becoming more extreme. And as such, the Nevis Island Administration reiterates its commitment to reducing economic losses from natural disasters as its real developmental priority.”
With that said, Minister Jeffers who has responsibility for the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD), intimated that stakeholders and partner agencies are working to ensure the reduction of economic losses in the face of disasters.
“Through the Department’s multi-hazard campaign, we are continuously being informed of what to do before, during and after specific hazards. Therefore, we are quite informed as to how to prepare for a hurricane.”
He gave tips on how to prepare for a hurricane.
• Ensure that every family member knows the contents of the family disaster plan. Know where the Emergency Shelters are located;
• Ensure that enforcement is made on the disaster plan as it establishes order, improves coordination and decision-making, and reduces anxiety and fear;
• Ensure that an emergency contact list of our police stations, Fire and Rescue Services, healthcare facilities and Disaster Management Department are kept at hand;
• Ensure that we have at least two-three gallons of bottled water just for drinking and more for sanitation purposes;
• Our hurricane emergency kits should also include but not be limited to battery powered flash lights, batteries, a family size first aid kit, battery powered or hand crank radio, medication and a whistle or whistles to signal for help;
• Have at least a three-day supply of non-perishable food. Ensure that important documents such as passports are stored in a waterproof container or in sealed plastics;
• Visit the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) for cash and fill up your vehicle with enough fuel;
• Every effort should be made to reduce property damage by retrofitting and reinforcing your roof, windows and doors;
• It would be beneficial if homes can invest in a portable generator, and most importantly keep properties clean;
• Have an extra tank of propane gas stored as well. Review your insurance policies to ensure that you have adequate coverage for your home and personal property; and
• Report any damages to your property to the Nevis Disaster Management Department.
The 2019 Hurricane Season runs from June 1 to November 30.
In 2017, the twin-island Federation was impacted by the passage of Category Five storms Irma and Maria. Those two powerful hurricanes left over $100 million in damage.