Gov’t Proactive In Preparing Shelters

Minister of Local Government and Rural Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Government has been proactive in getting emergency shelters across the island ready for the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane season.

“We are not going to make any apologies to anybody for being proactive, because I would rather say to the country, ‘we did what we should’ instead of saying ‘I am sorry that we did not,” he said, following a tour of facilities in St. James on Friday (July 9).

The Minister, who has been touring emergency shelters across Jamaica over the past weeks, said that based on the visits, the designated facilities are in a “state of readiness” to safely accommodate persons.

“Elsa passed through last week; it was downgraded to a tropical storm. When we opened the shelters, persons went to the shelters and it is a good sign that people are listening [to the weather alerts],” he noted.

In the meantime, Minister McKenzie lauded the work of the Disaster Coordinator for St. James, Tamoy Sinclair, and her team, for getting shelters in the parish prepared.

He said that St. James, particularly the Montego Bay area, has a history of flooding, and as such, the necessary measures must be put in place to protect the lives of residents.

“We have also ensured, through the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the municipal corporations, that all attempts must be made, if there is an event, for persons to be taken to the shelters and to do everything that is possible for them,” he pointed out.

The Minister, along with the Minister of State, Hon. Homer Davis, visited shelters in Albion, Mt. Salem, Flanker, and other areas.

For her part, Ms. Sinclair pointed out that the shelters are organised in keeping with the coronavirus (COVID-19) health and safety measures, taking into account the number of persons per room and physical distancing.   She noted that the facilities are equipped with isolation rooms.

“We are ensuring that whenever we are expecting any emergencies that they (persons) will be well taken care of,” she said.

The original article was taken from Jamaica Information Service