PM warns J’cans as active 2024 Atlantic hurricane season approaches Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

Prime Minister,  Andrew Holness,has sent out a reminder to Jamaicans to prepare for what is expected to be an active 2024 Atlantic hurricane season, which begins on June 1.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the United States has forecast an above-average season, with projections of 17 to 25 named storms, eight to 13 hurricanes, and four to seven major hurricanes of category three or higher.

Holness pointed out that this is among the highest forecasts issued by NOAA, while addressing the National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRMC) meeting, held at Sandals Ochi Beach Resort in St. Ann, on Wednesday, May 29.

The Prime Minister, who is also Chairman of the NDRMC, said this is an appropriate time to assess the exposure of homes, infrastructure, services, productive activities, and workplaces as the hurricane season approaches.

“So, I take this opportunity to encourage all Jamaicans that as we enter the hurricane season to, first of all, do your household preparation. Put aside food stock and water as much as you can and make provisions for the protection of your important documents or valuables,” Mr. Holness explained.

“Look at your home and see what is likely to be destroyed in a hurricane, such as roof, windows, doors and even trees that are in proximity to your home. Start making preparations to cut some of those branches that might become projectiles,” he added.

Community cooperation is another key point in preparedness, the Prime Minister underscored.

He urged citizens to speak with neighbours and family members, especially those who may be alone or unable to help themselves, to develop contingency plans.

He pointed out that emergency shelters play a crucial role in disaster response and called on entities managing these shelters to ensure they are ready and operational.

Mr. Holness emphasised that individuals must prepare personal items if they need to evacuate to a shelter.

“Jamaica must live with our reality of being one of the most exposed countries in the world to multiple hazards, including hurricanes, floods, droughts, earthquakes, storm surges and landslides. In fact, models have predicted the increased impact of catastrophic natural events arising from heightened surface temperatures and global sea-level rise,” Mr. Holness outlined.

However, he noted that through efficient land-use planning, urban renewal, and building code regulation, the Government is creating safer and more resilient spaces.

Mr. Holness assured that these measures are safeguarding the nation’s development gains from being “washed away in any disaster”.

He highlighted the nation’s financial capability, organisational strength, and the will and motivation to recover stronger and better from disasters.

The NDRMC gave a review and update of Jamaica’s disaster preparedness and response plans via presentations from various government agencies, departments, and stakeholders to guarantee a unified and efficient response to disasters.

The meeting also assessed current risks and vulnerabilities, and also focused on formulating and outlining policies and strategies to reduce disaster risks and enhance resilience.

Among the entities in attendance were the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Meteorological Service of Jamaica, Earthquake Unit, Mines and Geology Division, Ministry of Health and Wellness, among others.