The Barbados Government has embarked on a major clean up of ten of island’s most flood prone areas as it prepares the country for the passage of Hurricane Issac.
On its present track, the system is forecast to pass to the north of Barbados late Wednesday into early Thursday, but Prime Minister Mia Mottley urged citizens to be fully prepared as she summoned a meeting of the island’s emergency response agencies and other key stakeholders at Government headquarters yesterday evening.
“I know we like to say that God is a Bajan and I do believe that God is a Bajan, but we have to prepare because God helps those who helps themselves and we need to help ourselves and we need to make sure that we learn from the lessons of the past.
“Barbadians cannot take anything for granted. This is not about panicking anybody, it is just about doing the basics, ” she stressed.
Mottley noted that in the event that Issac does not directly impact the island, Barbadians had to remain on guard for heavy rain and high winds.
“Realistically if the hurricane does not hit us we still have to be wary of the level of flooding that may take place and we are trying to address the ten most likely areas that would be affected by flooding ahead of time.
“Government is using the next 48 to 72 hours to clean the most flood prone areas. We have done some already and we only have to complete the rest. We would like people to do the same around their properties and their communities and their gaps.”
She urged “right thinking” Barbadians to help to move the debris and appealed to the private sector that has essential equipment to make it available to Government, revealing that the majority of the equipment at the Ministry of Public Work was not functional.
“The Ministry of Public Works will meet with the private sector to see where we can get additional generator capacity and I am calling on all members of the private sector to work with the Government agencies.”
The Prime Minister said the island had 21 Category 1 Shelters prepared but expressed concern that the parishes of St Joseph and St Andrew did not have such facilities. The Ministry of Public Works and the Ministry of Education were mandated to update the country by midday today on possible solutions.
“In the case of St Joseph we want to look at the Eric Holder Complex and in the case of St Andrew we need to see what can be done to beef up the A. Dacosta Edwards Primary School or to look at a church within the parish of St Andrew that can easily transition,” Mottley said.
Meanwhile, Director of the Department of Emergency Management Kerry Hinds also encouraged Barbadians to activate their disaster plans.
“We request persons to clean up around their homes, ensure they have the necessary supplies to take them through the system and of course constantly monitor for any updates from the authorities.
Commissioner of Police Tyrone Griffith also assured Barbadians that the Royal Barbados Police Force was fully mobilized to maintain safety and security.
“We have rehearsed with our partners the Barbados Defence Force and we are quite ready and capable of dealing with any fallout from this impending system,” Griffith said.