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JIS News

The Westmoreland Parish Disaster Committee is carrying out inspection of emergency shelters to ensure that all 66 facilities are up and ready in the event of hurricane or other disaster.
Disaster Preparedness Coordinator for Westmoreland, Rev. Hilma Tate, told JIS News yesterday (June 10) that 55 shelters have been inspected so far, and more than 40 of them have been deemed fit and ready.
“We are continuing our efforts to upgrade the remaining shelters and are continuing training sessions for all shelter managers,” she informed.
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has put arrangements in place for the supply of food and comfort items to shelters, while the Jamaica Red Cross and the Salvation Army stand ready to offer assistance.
Turning to other preparedness activities, Rev. Tate told JIS News that the Parish Disaster Plan has been revised, with the lists of emergency contacts, heavy equipment owners and shelter managers updated.
Fire and earthquake drills are continuing at schools, hospitals, infirmaries and businesses across the parish, while a map highlighting shelters and flood-prone areas, has been developed.
In addition, major drain cleaning works were undertaken in Savanna-la-Mar and adjoining areas last month in collaboration with the Frome Sugar Factory and a number of non-governmental groups. Frome made heavy-duty equipment available to clear a number of critical channels, which run along Great George Street in the parish capital.
Rev. Tate thanked the various groups and organisations, which participated in the month-long clean-up activity.
“With this kind assistance. a number of our major and critical drains have so far been cleaned. The Stony Bridge and Ricketts Avenue drains, among many others, have been extensively cleaned,” she told JIS News.
She said that once the drains remain clear, there should be very little chance of flooding in parish capital.
Meanwhile, Mayor of Savanna-la-Mar and Chairman of the Westmoreland Parish Council, Bertel Moore, is advising all citizens living in flood-prone areas, to move to higher ground without hesitation, in the event of a hurricane.
“As soon as you hear the hurricane warning, move to higher ground quickly and head for the nearest shelter. I would also like to advise those moving to shelters to try and take some food stuff with you, even for the first day,” Mayor Moore told JIS News.