Government has thoroughly prepared for the 2019 Hurricane Season having implemented several disaster emergencies initiatives.
Minister of Home Affairs, Edmund Hinkson made the disclosure at the Disaster Emergency Management (DEM) headquarters Saturday afternoon.
Hinkson announced that Government has increased the island’s national storage capacity. This is also inclusive to increasing the water storage capacity, increasing storage warehouses for food supply and increasing the number of category one shelters to 11.
Hinkson said the Ministry of Home Affairs in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture has signed several agreements with the private sector to ensure adequate amount of food in the event of a disaster.
Government has also ordered 22 generators for category one and two shelters, installed portable water tanks at hurricane shelters and purchased 17 satellite phones, with the United States Government also loaning two satellite phones to the Barbados Government. The Japanese Government also donated 11 storage bins which have been positioned at various locations across the island.
The Minister said Government was in the process of fulfilling its manifesto promise of a roof replacement programme in the event of disaster.
“We are now actualizing that policy and legislative framework to try and make Barbados more resilient in terms of helping those that need roof repairs,” Hinkson stated.
He said a drainage study has been conducted on Holetown, since it is a flood-prone area and promised that traditional flood-prone districts such as Murphy’s Pasture, Chapman Lane and the Bayland, St Michael will be protected as much as possible. More pumps have been ordered for these at-risk areas, to mitigate dangers in the event of heavy rains.
Hinkson also stated that the island’s data has been backed up in a secure offshore data centre.
During his 40-minute speech, the Minister urged residents to follow this year’s theme Prepare and Be Aware. He urged communities to play their part in preparing for the hurricane season by clearing drains, trimming trees in their district and by properly disposing of derelict vehicles and old appliances.
“We implore our people, each and every one to ensure that your own properties, your own backyard, your own communities are as secure as possible, as free as possible from debris and your gutters are clear. Don’t wait on the Government to clear or don’t feel it is the responsibility of Government alone to do this. We don’t have the resources to do it and we are doing our best in terms of the finance . . . but communities have to do their bit,” Hinkson emphasized. (KK)