The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has called on the region to pay close attention to the upcoming hurricane season.
The 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, is forecast to be above normal with a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which six to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including three to five major hurricanes with winds of 111 mph or higher.
“It only takes one event to make an impact so hurricane preparedness is critical every year regardless of how much activity is forecast,” Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director of CDEMA, said at a media conference today.
“The message is really one of preparedness and we say this every year and the national disaster offices reiterate the message and we want to repeat it.”
The risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) spreading during the hurricane season remains high and Riley said both her organisation and its partner the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) have agreed that virus prevention measures need to be maintained as some states are battling with the spread of variants of concern such as the one discovered in Brazil.
Over 700,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the region and more than 10,000 of those people have died.
“Individuals and communities must therefore continue to adhere to covid-19 protocols in the face of hurricane threats especially if public sheltering is required,” Riley said while noting that sheltering at public facilities will be limited.
She encouraged people, who plant to use their private dwellings as hurricane shelters, to ensure that sanitation measures are in place for all guests.
The process to restock items taken from CDEMA’s sub-regional warehouses in Barbados, Trinidad and Antigua to respond to the La Soufriere volcano eruption has started. Riley noted that most of the food and water sent to St Vincent were donated by the private sector.