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Minister of Information and Development, Senator Colin Campbell, has said drain and gully cleaning works, which were being carried out under the Disaster Mitigation Programme, would continue in earnest, as part of hurricane preparations.
Senator Campbell, who was addressing yesterday’s (Aug. 28) post-Cabinet press briefing at Jamaica House, said that with the hurricane season slated to last until November, Prime Minister Portia Simpson had instructed that preparations, which were being carried out in expectation of Hurricane Ernesto, should persist.
“A programme has also been instituted to take photographs before and after the cleaning programme,” he told journalists, adding, “we find that once we clean these gullies, the dumping of garbage and other refuse continue to be thrown into the gullies.” He appealed for the public’s cooperation, as the works were carried out.
Meanwhile, Senator Campbell pointed out that Local Government and Environment Minister, Dean Peart, who has responsibility for disaster management, would be overseeing the cleaning of gullies identified as being in a critical state. He will also supervise rescue and response programmes that are being coordinated by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
Speaking at a meeting of the National Response Team, which was convened on August 25, to discuss preparations for Ernesto, Prime Minister Simpson Miller called on citizens to “begin to take all necessary precautionary measures as advised by ODPEM.””I know that some of you do not take warnings seriously, as you feel, we will escape. My advice, particularly to those living in flood-prone areas, is to follow the instructions of ODPEM, and the other authorities,” she said.
“If you delay, it may be too late for the emergency crews to reach you, to save your life. Remember, they too are human beings with families,” the Prime Minister added.
Among the agencies in attendance were the Jamaica Constabulary Force; the Fire Department; the National Solid Waste Management Authority; ODPEM; and representatives of non-governmental organizations and the utility services.