CDEMA head urges Caribbean states to be prepared
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday June 01, 2012 – Caribbean states have been urged not to let challenging economic conditions or predictions of below-average storm activity leave them unprepared for the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season which officially starts today, June 1.
Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Jeremy Collymore gave this advice at CDEMA’s pre-season Press conference at the agency’s Barbados headquarters on Tuesday.
The CDEMA head indicated that with predictions of a below-average hurricane season and with the economic climate as it is, it would be easy for people to become complacent.
With reference to forecasts for below-average hurricane seasons, Collymore pointed out that such predictions could be misleading.
“This year, a forecast is suggesting a below-average season, and I just want to draw your attention to the last time that happened in 1992 when we had Hurricane Andrew,” he said.
“I remember the damage in the Bahamas was about US$250million and on the United States of America south coast it was billions of dollars,” he noted.
Collymore went on to say that CDEMA had already started its regional exercise to “check how our systems are working; how we get information to and from countries and the effectiveness of the contact information provided”.
The CDEMA head continued that while it was also routine that Caribbean states went through their annual national preparations, there were some countries “which are clearly ready in that they have political support and their systems are in place and are being reviewed and they have identified their resource needs and gaps”.
He noted, however, that there were other states “who are very slow in this exercise”.
Collymore cautioned that instead of running the risk of underestimating the coming hurricane season, countries should seek to address their operational capabilities while being “mindful that a below-average year does not mean that we will not have a significant event”.