The parish of St. Catherine, devastated in some parts by rainfall from Tropical Storm Nicole, is to be placed on a state of heightened awareness, as more rain is forecasted for this weekend.
Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley.
Mayor of Spanish Town, Dr. Andrew Wheatley, and his counterpart in the neighbouring Municipality of Portmore, Keith Hinds, told JIS News that all systems will be on alert to ensure speedy responses in the event of disasters in the parish.
“The parish is on alert, all our shelters are in place and ready in the eventuality that they have to be opened,” Dr. Wheatley said. He explained that the Parish Council staff and support agencies are on standby.
“We have been having discussions to ensure that, if there is an eventuality where we need to respond, the Parish Council and the team of workers will be able to respond adequately to the needs of the people,” Dr. Wheatley added.
The Spanish Town Mayor said that active enforcement of regulations regarding no-build areas, such as the river embankments and gully verges, reduced incidents of buildings being washed away during Tropical Storm Nicole.
“We do not permit any form of construction, legal or illegal (in no build zones). Once it has been brought to our attention, we act swiftly to discourage persons from building in no building zones and I believe we’re seeing the results,” he told JIS News.
Mayor Wheatley admitted, however, that preventing persons from building in these areas remains a difficult task.
“We might not be able to catch everyone or prevent them, and so we are appealing to those persons, who know themselves, kindly to remove themselves from these areas before a disaster occurs or before the enforcement team comes,” he warned.
Portmore’s Mayor Keith Hinds noted that the Municipality was still on alert and the Disaster Co-ordinator was still sensitizing the communities to the potential for damage.
“All the shelters will be on alert, the disaster committee will be in place and everyone will be prepared,” he said.