JIS News

Story Highlights

  • NWA has been allocated $50 million to implement mitigation measures for the 2014 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
  • $20 million of the amount will be spent in the South Eastern parishes of Jamaica, such as St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Thomas.
  • Mitigation activities will start by the end of this week, with instructions already being given to the parish teams to start working.

The National Works Agency (NWA) has been allocated $50 million to implement mitigation measures for the 2014 hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.

Communications Manager at the NWA, Stephen Shaw, has informed that $20 million of the amount will be spent in the South Eastern parishes of Jamaica, such as St. Catherine, Kingston and St. Andrew and St. Thomas.

“In the South, which is Clarendon, Manchester and St. Elizabeth, we are spending $10 million and so too in the North East and in the West,” Mr. Shaw said.

He was speaking at the launch of Disaster Preparedness Month at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), in Kingston, June 2.

Mr. Shaw said mitigation activities will start by the end of this week, with instructions already being given to the parish teams to start working.

“So, when you drive around the country over the next couple of weeks, you should be seeing activities, such as drain cleaning mostly taking place throughout the island. We intend to have these activities wrapped up within a month. So, we should be finished with the $50 million programme by the end of June,” he stated.

For his part, Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, informed that so far Local Authorities have spent $150 million on drain cleaning works in some communities from as early as April.

He also noted that because the Government is not yet in a position to build shelters, they have asked the schools to provide space to persons who may be in need of shelter during a storm.

“I wish to thank those schools which have partnered with us over the years. Some schools might have to be called upon once again to render some assistance and I hope they will be willing to do so again,” Mr. Arscott said.

He also urged persons who may have to seek shelter, particularly in schools, to ensure that the facility is kept in best order.

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Service of Jamaica is forecasting a below average level of activity for the 2014 hurricane season.

Historically, in an average year the region can expect up to 12 storms, six of which are expected to become hurricanes and three of those hurricanes are expected to be major.

However, forecasters anticipate a below average season based on environmental factors such as El Nino.

Head of the Weather Branch at the National Meteorological Service, Evan Thompson, said an expected below-normal level of activity should not encourage complacency and is urging citizens to still make the necessary preparations.

“This year we are expecting anywhere between three and six (hurricanes).  And where major hurricanes are concerned we are expecting anywhere between one and two. On average, we would have between two and three. Regardless of what the number tells us, we should always be ready,” Mr. Thompson said.

He also reminded citizens that during the hurricane season, they can receive automated updates on severe weather warning by calling 116.