Hurricane season lived up to expectations… Vesta Southwell

This was disclosed by Public Relations Officer at NEMA, Vesta Southwell, who reminded of the early forecast, which was received prior to the start of the season in June.

She was speaking to this media-house at the opening of a three day workshop on ‘Mainstreaming Climate Change in Disaster Management’ on Tuesday 18th November.

“We were told that we would have a mild season, and we heard about some damaging storms and hurricanes that occurred during the season, but not necessarily in our area,” Southwell said.

The Federation felt the impact of one Tropical Storm, that being Gonzalo, which dumped several inches of rain on St Kitts and Nevis.

Gonzalo after passing near the Federation was upgraded to a hurricane and it battered several other islands and some sections of the United States.

However, she challenged persons to be careful during the hurricane season, from beginning to end.

An overall assessment level of the damage received from storms and various low pressure systems in the Caribbean Sea could not be given by Southwell.

“We had no major impact, even in the event of those flooding. We have not heard of too much damage throughout the Federation. However, some persons may have been more impacted than others, so it’s difficult sometimes to give that overall thumbs up when persons have suffered.”

One disturbing area for NEMA is having persons be prepared, even though NEMA continues to reiterate the basics of being equipped in the event of a storm passing.

According the NEMA representative, it is the culture for residents of the Federation to wait until last minute, to prepare themselves for the passage of an impending storm.

 “It’s an ongoing struggle. We live in a culture that is based on last minute-ness, and persons tend to react when they see the sky blackening up, and rain start… We tend to try to caution them to be prepared, and when you are prepared the impact upon you, whatever the hazard, will be minimal. It is not just about preparing come June to November.”

Workshops, similar to the one being undertaken by NEMA, the public relations officer said, will assist in reducing the impact of storms on communities and the entire federation.

“We are trying to mitigate disasters, to prepare and get people to understand what can happen. We can reduce the impacts on ourselves and the federation as a whole, if we are extremely prepared and don’t take anything for granted.”















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