NEAC embarks on public information campaign

Terrence Walters displaying NaDMA’s radio set up to George Grant

Terrence Walters displaying NaDMA’s radio set up to George Grant

The National Emergency Advisory Council (NEAC) has already put in place a number of measures in the event of a disaster affecting the country.

The council made the announcement as the country prepares for the Hurricane season that runs until end of November.

The public was informed about the measures last week Thursday during a television disaster awareness programme that was organised by the Public Information and Education Committee of NEAC.

National emergency shelters are integral in any disaster, and Tonia Hyacinth from the National Shelter Management Committee stressed that the shelters are temporary living quarters from an individual’s regular home.

Hyacinth said once someone lives in a disaster prone area it is mandatory that he moves into a shelter where it is safe and be adequately accommodated.

At the shelters, women and children are placed together, males in another quarter, the elderly are placed in an easily accessible area, while a separate quarter is set-aside for disabled persons.

The emergency shelters are managed by a Shelter Management Committee, which is comprised of representatives from the Ministries of Health, Housing, Community Development, Social Development, Works and the Grenada Conference of Churches.

The body is responsible for overseeing what happens in the 106 shelters throughout the island.

Acting National Disaster Coordinator, Terrence Walters who was also on the programme disclosed that three of the shelters are designated for persons with disability – the Bethel Church Hall, New Hampshire Community Centre, and the St. David’s Roman Catholic School.

Walters said shelters are normally opened for 48 to 72 hours, except in circumstances where it is necessary to have them opened for a longer period.

Another Committee that has activated its preparedness for the Hurricane Season is the National Health Disaster Committee.

Osbert Charles who is the Coordinator said his committee has also begun to ensure that the health sector is prepared to respond not only to hurricanes, but the impact of any disaster.

Charles said the committee’s main role is to ensure that there are trained personnel who can provide the medical response of those in need of the service.

The security of health facilities is also paramount.

Charles said that at the General Hospital in St. George’s they are in the process of installing new windows at the Private Block Ward and shutters.

The Health Disaster Coordinator said that at the district level attention is being paid to having medical supplies.

Manager of Meteorology at the Maurice Bishop International Airport, Hubert Whyte who also appeared on the programme pointed out that his department monitors the Atlantic Basin on a 24-hour basis.

According to Whyte, whenever there is a very active tropical depression, the met office begins to issue reports.

However, he said the local met office depends on the Hurricane Centre in Miami as that is the body, which declares a tropical depression or whatever form of weather pattern.

“Whenever that happens we start speaking to NaDMA (National Disaster Management Agency), then we’ll start issuing watches and warnings,” he said.

The met office has already decided to issue daily weather updates at 8:00 a.m. 2:00 p.m. and at 8:00 p.m. to the various media houses.


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