The hurricane season starts on June 1 and for the next six months, Jamaica faces the possibility of being affected by major weather systems that can range from tropical storms to category five hurricanes.
It is a phenomenon that happens every year, with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), which is responsible for the management of the preparations for, and coordination of the national response to, catastrophes on the island, warning that Jamaicans should prepare for disaster if the island is impacted by a hurricane.
Individual and community preparedness should include ensuring that houses can withstand the winds and rain associated with hurricanes, and having supplies to batten down windows and doors. There is also a need to have non-perishable food items and items such as candles, lamps and an adequate supply of water.
Each year among many Jamaicans, however, the call has not been heeded, as they wait until the last minute when the hurricane is very close to the island, to start doing their shopping, which usually results in chaos at wholesale food outlets and supermarkets.
In a small snapshot of the population on Tuesday, conducted by Loop News in New Kingston and Half-Way Tree, there were mixed reactions from those interviewed on whether or not they were prepared for the hurricane season.
For those who said they were not prepared, the reasons given were varied. These included not having money to do so, and wanting to wait to know the category of the hurricane before doing so. Others said they were in the process of preparation.
Watch the video as Loop News’ team of Marlon Reid and Job Nelson got the reactions of Jamaicans to the question: Are you prepared for the hurricane season?