JIS News

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is on high alert, as reports indicate that Hurricane Dean is on track to affect Jamaica by this weekend.
Director of Information and Training at ODPEM, Krechet Douglas-Greaves, told JIS News that Parish Disaster Co-ordinators have been alerted as well as ODPEM staff, regarding preparations.
“High alert means that the National Emergency Operation Centre will be going on level one operation tomorrow (Friday, August 17) and into the weekend, depending on the situation that obtains at that time as it relates to Hurricane Dean,” she explained.
Level One operation, she elaborated, was a basic process that monitors the progress of the Hurricane. “We think it is important to carefully and clearly monitor what is happening, so that we can have due response mechanisms in place to deal with any eventualities that may occur resulting from this hurricane,” she added.
In addition, where national supplies are concerned, ODPEM is positioning itself to ensure that supplies are distributed to vulnerable areas. Mrs. Douglas-Greaves said these areas were located in parts of Manchester, Clarendon, St. Catherine, St. Elizabeth and St. Thomas.
“We will be ensuring that adequate supplies are duly positioned, in case the need arises for deployment of such items,” she stressed.
Acting Senior Director of Preparedness at ODPEM, Omar Affleck urged persons not to solely rely on ODPEM for updates on the progress of the storm. “What we ask the country to do now is be aware. Keep tuning in to local radio and television (stations) because we work with the Met Office Bulletin and Advisory, so listen to those, and also the various tips issued,” he said.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller has called a meeting of the National Disaster Committee for tomorrow (August 17), at Jamaica House.
According to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), the meeting is being called to ascertain the state of readiness of all relevant agencies, as Jamaica braces for the effects of Hurricane Dean.

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