The Trelawny Municipal Corporation says it is in an advanced state of readiness for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1 to November 30.
The Corporation’s Chairman and Mayor of Falmouth, Councilor Colin Gager, told JIS news that preparatory work has started, with priority focus being placed on flood prone areas within Trelawny.
Councillor Gager advised that drain-cleaning is being undertaken with resources from the Parochial Revenue Fund and a $25 million provision from the Tourism Enhancement Fund (TEF).
“That is being used to focus on Falmouth and we are also looking at [other] areas… and ensuring that all access to sink holes and any channel that takes away water from the various areas, are cleaned,” he said.
The Mayor pointed out that shelters are being inspected and shelter managers trained and equipped with the necessary resources.
“We are working closely with our Disaster Coordinator and making sure that our shelters are up and running. Our shelter managers are trained so that in case of a disaster, people will have somewhere that they can shelter,” Mr. Gager further informed.
He said the Municipal Corporation has made the necessary adjustments to its preparation this year due to the novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), noting that there are plans to increase the number of emergency shelters in the parish.
“We are looking to see how much space will be at the shelters. If [for example] we were using a certain section of a school, now we would have to use more sections… more classrooms… so that people won’t be clustered together. We are also looking at identifying new areas that can be used as shelters,” he explained.
Mayor Gager also indicated that Road and Works Department has been equipped to bolster the Corporation’s readiness.
Additionally, he said communication channels have been established with grocery stores and donors “so that in case of a disaster, after that 24-hours, they [residents] are able to receive food and anything else that might be necessary”.
“We did get donations from various companies and our store room is equipped with necessary resources… water boots, flashlights, [and] power-saws. We have also made arrangements with contractors who might have the heavy equipment, such as backhoes, to be on standby so that in the event of a landslide, [they are] able to come in immediately,” Councillor Gager informed.