JIS News

The National Meteorological Office has issued a tropical storm watch for Jamaica, in the wake of the projected passage of Tropical Storm Ernesto over the island this weekend.
At a meeting of the National Disaster Response Committee, held yesterday, at the Office of the Prime Minister, the agencies key to the island’s disaster mitigation strategies, outlined provisions they have put in place in preparation for the storm.
Prime Minister, the Most Honourable Portia Simpson Miller, who chaired the meeting, urged citizens to heed the bulletins of the MET Office. “I know that some of you do not take warnings seriously, as you feel we will escape,” she said. However, she implored members of the public to “begin to take your precautionary measures, as advised by the office of disaster preparedness and emergency management, the ODPEM.”
The Prime Minister emphasized the need for persons, particularly those living in flood prone areas, to “follow the instructions of the ODPEM and other authorities.”
In the meantime Acting Director General of the ODPEM, Ronald Jackson has expressed confidence in his organization’s level of preparedness to deal with the impending Tropical Storm.
Mr. Jackson told JIS News that the ODPEM “has actually been looking at all the measures and plans running from scenarios since Thursday, when it was still Tropical Depression number five.” He added that ODPEM has also mobilized the Parish Disaster Coordinators towards getting their Parish Emergency Teams to meet and to look at their own plans, as they would be the first response teams in any parish that is affected.
While encouraging citizens not to panic, Mr. Jackson advised that Tropical Storm Ernesto be treated as if it were a major hurricane. He said citizens should focus on implementing their individual household emergency plans, covering all the bases necessary.Tropical Storm Ernesto is the fifth named tropical storm for the 2006 Hurricane Season. It is expected to pass directly over the island on Sunday August 27.