JIS News

With the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season set to begin tomorrow (June 1) the St. Mary Parish Council has been conducting a drain cleaning programme throughout the parish to reduce the possibility of flooding.
Speaking with JIS News, Disaster Coordinator for St. Mary, Yolande Williams said the programme began in April and is being conducted in all 13 parish council divisions. She noted however, that special emphasis will be placed on the towns of Port Maria and Annotto Bay as they are flood prone areas which have been severely affected in the past, partly due to blocked drains.
Observing that a large amount of the drains in the parish are filled with silt and household garbage, she said residents will have to play a more responsible role in ensuring that the practice of using drains for garbage disposal is discontinued. She added that the Council will be using its upcoming series of divisional community meetings on property taxes to sensitize the public about the importance of proper garbage disposal.
Turning to the general state of disaster preparedness in St. Mary, the Coordinator said it was satisfactory. She asserted that the zonal disaster committees are currently being mobilized to ensure the swiftest and most effective response to any emergency, and pointed out that there are enough shelters in the parish to be put into operation if it becomes necessary to do so.
Miss Williams also informed that simulation exercises including one on the Annotto Bay flood warning system have already been done as part of the disaster preparedness programme in the parish to test the response time by agencies during emergency situations.

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