By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is making preparations for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season which began on June 01 and will run until November 30.
Representatives from NEMA appearing on WINN’s popular “Voices” program on Wednesday, June 15, used the opportunity to share with the general public the status of their preparedness for the hurricane season.
“For us in the Atlantic Basin, the forecast calls for 19 potential storms developing. Out of these 19 storms, nine may develop into hurricanes, and out of these nine hurricanes, we may see four major hurricanes. When we say major hurricanes, we are talking about categories 3, 4, and 5.
Although we are looking at a forecast that is calling for possibly 19 storms, it does not mean that St. Kitts and Nevis will be impacted by all 19 storms or one but we have to prepare because we recognised that this is an above-average season so there is a heightened probability that we may be impacted,” said Meteorologist Mr. Elmo Burke.
The Atlantic Ocean lies between North and South America on the west and Europe and Africa on the east. Up north, the Atlantic connects to the Arctic Ocean and to the Southern Ocean to the south. Scientists often divide the Atlantic into two basins: the North Atlantic and the South Atlantic.
Mr. Abdias Samuel, the National Disaster Coordinator at NEMA, spoke about some of the preparatory work taking place, and ongoing talks with regional disaster management agencies.
“We have started, in the early parts of the year, conducting our internal audits in terms of our communications systems and equipment. This includes carrying out training and development of staff with modern practices and engaging with our regional and international partners and this includes having discussions with our apparent company CDEMA [Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency],” Mr. Samuel said.
According to Mr. Samuel, officials from NEMA are currently meeting with private sector companies in the Federation to ascertain their level of hurricane and disaster preparedness. NEMA has also been engaged in discussions with embassies representing different foreign citizens residing in St. Kitts and Nevis.
Mr. Samuel said there are ten sub-committees that fall under the National Disaster Committee which is chaired by the Prime Minister and has the Cabinet Secretary and chairpersons of the ten sub-committees as members. The ten sub-committees are the Medical & Public Health Sub Committee; Transport Sub Committee; Education, Communication and Warning Sub Committee; Housing and Shelter Sub Committee; Damage Assessment and Evaluation Sub Committee; Environment Sub Committee; Foreign Assistance Sub Committee; Welfare, Relief Supplies and Shelter Management Sub Committee; Utilities Sub Committee; and Search, Rescue and Initial Clearance Sub Committee.
NEMA made the call for people to join their volunteer arm which plays a critical role in their national preparedness and response mechanism.
“I appeal to the general public to continue to volunteer. We need to give our national service in volunteerism to support the response because that is what will help us to recover and get the economy and country going very quickly,” Mr. Samuel said.
NEMA is paying special attention and making the necessary preparation for historical sites, ports of entry, restoration of clean water, electricity, and internet. Damage assessment training sessions are underway to bolster efforts of recovery and clean-up in the event of a natural disaster or hurricane.