ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY THE MOST HON. PORTIA SIMPSON MILLER, PRIME MINISTER OF JAMAICA ON HURRICANE DEAN


MY FELLOW JAMAICANS:OUR COUNTRY IS FACING THE SERIOUS THREAT OF HURRICANE DEAN — A CATEGORY 4 HURRICANE, WHICH COULD STRENGTHEN FURTHER, MOVING ACROSS JAMAICA BY TOMORROW.THIS IS A TIME OF CHALLENGE FOR OUR NATION, BUT IT IS ALSO A TIME FOR US, AS A PEOPLE, TO CALL ON OUR GREAT FAITH, WISDOM, STRENGTH AND SPIRIT OF COMMUNITY.
YESTERDAY, I ACTIVATED THE COUNTRY’S NATIONAL DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT SYSTEM LED BY THE OFFICE OF DISASTER PREPAREDNESS AND EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT (ODPEM).
THE PARISH DISASTER COMMITTEES REPRESENTING ALL THE RELEVANT AGENCIES OF THE STATE, THE CENTRAL GOVERNMNET AND NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS ARE READY.
THE SECURITY FORCES ARE NOW ON FULL ALERT AND WILL ISSUE A SEPERATE STATEMENT ON THE SECURITY ARRANGEMENTS FOR DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE ISLAND.
MINISTRIES AND AGENCIES OF THE STATE ARE NOW PREPARED FOR THE POSSIBLE IMPACT OF THIS MAJOR HURRICANE ON OUR PEOPLE AND OUR LAND. RELIEF PROVISIONS ARE IN PLACE FOR DISTRIBUTION THROUGH THE ESTABLISHED CHANNELS.
YESTERDAY, I INITIATED TALKS WITH THE LEADER OF THE JAMAICA LABOUR PARTY ON HOW WE CAN WORK TOGETHER IN ONE NATIONAL EFFORT. I INVITED HIM TO NAME A TEAM OF FOUR FROM THE JLP TO WORK WITH A TEAM OF A SIMILAR NUMBER FROM THE PNP TO ENSURE THAT THE RECOVERY PROCESS IS CARRIED OUT IN A FAIR AND NON-PARTISAN WAY.
FELLOW JAMAICANS, THE WEATHER EXPERTS AGREE THAT DEAN IS AN EXTREMELY DANGEROUS HURRICANE AND IS ON A DIRECT PATH TO JAMAICA. THIS IS WHY I AM APPEALING TO EVERY SINGLE JAMAICAN TO TAKE THIS HURRICANE THREAT VERY SERIOUSLY.
PLEASE ACT RESPONSIBLY. TAKE THE NECESSARY PRECAUTIONS TO SECURE YOUR HOMES AND BUSINESSES.
LISTEN TO THE UPDATES FROM THE MET OFFICE. FOLLOW THE ODPEM HURRICANE GUIDELINES WHICH ARE BEING SUPPLIED TO ALL MEDIA HOUSES.
IF YOU ARE IN A FLOOD PRONE AREA, NOW IS THE TIME TO MOVE. MOVE WITHOUT DELAY TO A SAFE PLACE. BOTH VOLUNTARY AND ASSISTED EVACUATION MEASURES HAVE BEEN ACTIVATED FOR LOW LYING AREAS SUCH AS PORTMORE, PORT ROYAL, NIGHTINGALE GROVE, BULL BAY AND NINE MILES.
JUTC BUSES ARE BEING PROVIDED TO TAKE PERSONS TO EMERGENCY SHELTERS. DO NOT TO WAIT FOR THE LAST MINUTE TO MAKE THE DECISION TO MOVE FROM WHERE YOU ARE. DECIDE NOW AND BEGIN TO MAKE THE ARRANGEMENTS TO LEAVE NOW.
THE NATIONAL POWER GRID FOR ELECTRICITY SUPPLY IS LIKELY TO BE SHUT DOWN BY 10 O’CLOCK ON SUNDAY MORNING. THE SUSPENSION OF WATER SUPPLY FROM THE NATIONAL WATER COMMISSION (NWC) WILL FOLLOW SOON THEREAFTER. I URGE YOU TO STORE WATER NOW FOR DRINKING AND OTHER DOMESTIC USE. I HAVE INSTRUCTED THE NWC TO DELIVER WATER TO AREAS WHICH DO NOT HAVE PIPED WATER.
MY MAIN CONCERN IS FOR THE SAFETY AND WELL BEING OF EVERYONE. WE HAVE TO TAKE SPECIAL CARE OF THE CHILDREN, THE ELDERLY, THE ‘SHUT-INS’, PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES; THE HOMELESS; THE POOR; AND ALL THOSE WHOSE HOMES ARE NOT LIKELY TO WITHSTAND HEAVY WIND, RAIN AND POSSIBLE FLOOD CONDITIONS.
PREGNANT MOTHERS, SEVEN MONTHS AND OVER SHOULD MAKE ARRAGEMENTS TO MOVE CLOSER TO A HOSPITAL. PLEASE DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO IDENTIFY AND ASSIST SUCH PERSONS IN YOUR COMMUNITY. THIS IS A TIME FOR OUR TRUE JAMAICAN COMMUNITY SPIRIT TO COME TO THE FOREFRONT.
AS A FAMILY IN A TIME OF CRISIS, LET US PUT OUR DIFFERENCES ASIDE. FORGET ABOUT THE PARTISAN POLITICS. A HURRICANE IS LOOMING. WE ARE FACING A NATIONAL EMERGENCY. THIS IS NO TIME FOR DIVISIVENESS; NO TIME TO SCORE POLITICAL POINTS. THE SAFETY AND WELL-BEING OF OUR PEOPLE IS AT STAKE AND MUST BE OUR ONLY FOCUS AT THIS TIME.
I CALL ON ALL PEOPLE OF FAITH, ALL OUR CHURCHES AND ALL INDIVIDUALS TO KEEP OUR COUNTRY AND ALL JAMAICANS IN THEIR PRAYERS AT THIS TIME.
LET US BE STRENGTHENED BY THE FACT THAT WE ARE NOT ALONE. PRAYERS AND WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT FOR JAMAICA AND JAMAICANS ARE POURING IN FROM OUR NATIONALS LIVING OVERSEAS AND FRIENDS FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD.
I HAVE ALREADY RECEIVED ASSURANCES OF SUPPORT. THE PRIME MINISTER OF BARBADOS, THE HON. OWEN ARTHUR HAS COMMUNICATED HIS COUNTRY’S SUPPORT AND HAS ADVISED THAT THEIR DISASATER MANAGEMENT TEAM IS ON STANDBY.
THE UNITED STATES AMBASSADOR, BRENDA LA GRANGE JOHNSON SAYS HER COUNTRY IS READY TO HELP JAMAICA. USAID ALREADY HAS ASSESSMENT TEAMS IN PLACE AND SUPPLIES READY FOR DISTRIBUTION IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE DEAN.
I HAVE EVERY CONFIDENCE THAT IF WE REACH OUT TO EACH OTHER, HOLD ON TOGETHER, WORK TOGETHER AND PUT OUR FAITH AND TRUST IN THE ALMIGHTY, WE WILL WEATHER THIS STORM. WE WILL COME THROUGH THE DIFFICULT DAYS AHEAD.
OUR NATIONAL HERO MARCUS MOSIAH GARVEY ALWAYS TAUGHT US TO HAVE FAITH AND CONFIDENCE IN OURSELVES AND THAT THIS WILL PULL US THROUGH ANY CRISIS.
LET US BE INSPIRED, COMFORTED AND EMPOWERED BY THE WORDS OF PSALM 46: “GOD IS OUR REFUGE AND STRENGTH, A VERY PRESENT HELP IN TROUBLE”.
AGAIN TO MY JAMAICAN FAMILY LET US WORK TOGETHER AND WITH GOD’S HELP WE WILL MAKE IT THROUGH.
MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND KEEP YOU SAFE AND MAY GOD BLESS JAMAICA LAND WE LOVE.

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