With only a few weeks before the start of the 2012 hurricane season, the St. Catherine Parish Council is reporting that preparations are in high gear with regards to drain cleaning and disaster preparedness activities.
“We are going to be doing extensive drain cleaning later in the month and early next month. We’ll be working on some of the major drains in (Spanish Town),” Secretary/Manager of the Council, Christopher Powel, told JIS News.
He said that the disaster planning committee has been meeting and strategising, and shelters are being assessed to ensure that they can adequately accommodate people.
He said the disaster coordinator “has also been checking our stores to ensure that we have enough supplies to respond to persons if a hurricane comes or any other disaster and we’ve been meeting with the communities and sensitising them to prepare themselves for the season."
Mr. Powell told JIS News that repairs have been done to some exit routes, which will be used for mass evacuation. These include the Spanish Town by-pass, Brunswick Avenue, Wellington Street and Port Henderson drive.
“On top of that (we have) a continuous public education campaign, educating and advising the citizens that these are the evacuation routes so when the time comes, people will be already programmed to these areas,” he told JIS News.
Preparations are also underway in earnest in Portmore, where the municipality has indicated that drain cleaning is being given priority.
Portmore's Mayor, George Lee, told JIS News that keeping the waterways clear is critical to the safety of the area during and after the passage of a hurricane.
“We’ve started large scale drain cleaning in Portmore. The large Waterford drain has been completely cleaned. We’re now cleaning Portsmouth and will be moving into Bridgeport and all across Portmore,” he said.
He said the majority of drains will be cleaned before the 2012 hurricane season begins on June 1.
By O. Rodger Hutchinson, JIS PRO