Residents are still too complacent when it comes to properly preparing for disasters.
That’s the view of several speakers at the St Michael Parish Independence Committee’s second Disaster Preparedness Town Hall Meeting last Sunday.
This free and open event held at the Ellerslie Secondary School in Black Rock, St Michael featured agencies directly linked with Disaster Management namely the Department of Emergency Management, Barbados Meteorological Services, Royal Barbados Police Force, St. Michael South Central District Emergency Organization and Coastal Zone Management Unit.
The goal of this timely meeting was to sensitize residents on the importance of properly preparing for potentially dangerous natural occurrences such as hurricanes, severe flooding, earthquakes & tsunamis, and the appropriate responses in the aftermath of such disasters, through questions and discussion with the participants.
All the presenters illustrated a mastery of the subject matter and gave very practical advice to tackle likely concerns in the event of the natural disasters.
Ms Sonia Nurse, director (Ag) with the Barbados Meteorological Services ably addressed that organization’s role of issuing early weather warnings to help reduce the social and economic impacts of natural disasters.
Dr Leo Brewster, Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit expertly spoke about ecosystem responses to climate change. He also gave personal and real-life experiences during Hurricane Maria which is regarded as being the worst natural disaster on record to affect Dominica.
Gayle Drakes, programme officer from the Department of Emergency Management, Barton Green, Chairman of the St. Michael South Central District Emergency Organization and Senior Superintendent (Ag) Bruce Rowe and Inspector Fred Clarke from the Royal Barbados Police Force equally stressed the importance of adequately preparing for any natural disaster since no one knows when one is likely to strike. They also indicated that disasters are becoming more frequent, and the number of persons affected is also increasing, yet, public’s complacency toward preparedness continues to be quite alarming.
The informative event was an eye opener and all the speakers strongly encouraged residents to take a more active role in emergency preparedness.