Rallying call for communities as hurricane season approaches

As the hurricane season approaches, it is important that the country comes together to prepare for the potentially dangerous times ahead.

That was the view of Selwyn Brooks, a consultant to the Department of Emergency Management (DEM) with responsibility for the reactivation and sustainability of District Emergency Organisations (DEOs).

Speaking in an interview with Nation Online, Brooks said it was important that communities pull together to help in times of emergency as there was a limit to what DEOs can do.

“The District Emergency Organisations are a group of persons who volunteer to an emergency where they share their skills and services to the community,” he said.

“As volunteers, they are not paid and therefore resources are not often readily available to buy equipment and such. We always need communities to come together and look at various aspects of their community that would need the most help in the case of an emergency. These are areas we would really like to see the general public pay attention to. We are all in this together.”

Selwyn Brooks placing cones during a disaster response. (FILE)

Brooks, who spent 21 years as the District Emergency Chairman for St James Central, said that the need for wider vigilance was heightened with the effects of climate change.

“Climate change is going to be here with us and it has the potential to get worse and worse. Even though this year is forecast to be a little below average (based on what has been experienced over the last five years) that should not lead to a certain level of complacency because it only takes one system to affect us severely. Look at Elsa; when Elsa came our way she wasn’t even a hurricane,” he explained.

Brooks continued: “It (Climate change) is going to have adverse effects on the weather. Right now we are going through a drought and I don’t think Barbadians recognise that. We don’t see a drought as a threat until the Barbados Water Authority (BWA) says they have to start rationing water. We only recognise it at that point. The implications for climate change have really adverse effects on the community.”

Earlier this month the Barbados Meteorological Services (BMS) issued a press release stating the projected rainfall for April would be between 10 to 60mm which is approximately 48 per cent below average. May is forecast to have 10-90mm is about 19 per cent below average and June could be around 11 per cent below with predictions of 60 to 250mm.

Barbadians have also been asked to comply with water prohibition measures have been put in place by the BWA from April 24 to June 30. Under the legislation potable water should not be used for watering gardens, lawns, grounds or filling of ponds, baths or swimming pools; washing roadways, pavements or garages, washing windows and building exteriors. (JC)


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