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JIS News

Residents of the western parishes of St. James, Hanover and Westmoreland are once again counting their blessings, having been spared the worst effects of Hurricane Emily.
As at Monday, there were no reports of significant damage to personal property or infrastructure, with the major problem being rising floodwaters, which necessitated the opening of 19 shelters to accommodate 219 persons.
In St. James, 60 persons were accommodated in six shelters; 168 residents of Hanover sought shelter in nine facilities; and in Westmoreland, four shelters were opened to accommodate 63 persons.
“A majority of the persons, who moved into the shelters did so because many of them live a stone’s throw from the shoreline, and the waves, the wind and the possibility of storm surges if the storm had really come, prompted them to move to the shelters as a precautionary measure,” said Desmond Dorman, Acting Disaster Preparedness Coordinator for Hanover. By mid-day Sunday, most of the shelter seekers had returned to their homes as the floodwaters began to recede.
Mr. Dorman noted that with the island experiencing a number of major hurricanes over the last few years, residents of Hanover had been taking the hurricane warnings more seriously and were putting preparedness measures in place in addition to evacuating flood-prone areas early.
“Since Gilbert and more so as Ivan came along and then Dennis this year, people are taking hurricane warnings a lot more seriously,” he stated.
In fact, checks across the region revealed that persons had stocked up on food supplies, flashlights, batteries and kerosene, and those with vehicles filled their tanks, in preparation for an extended stay indoors if necessary.
Mr. Dorman noted however, that a lot of persons were still turning up at the shelters without food and other necessities and were placing early demands for relief items.
Nonetheless, he said the fact that persons were turning up at the centres as a precautionary measure was a step in the right direction, as this would prevent the unnecessary loss of lives.