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Hurricane preparedness in TCI

Turks and Caicos, June 23rd 2017 – Providenciales – It is no surprise that the Hurricane season has begun. However, one can never be over-prepared for the unpredictability of a natural disaster. As such, speaking to the media after a meeting with the Disaster Management Committee, Governor Dr. John Freeman urged all residents on the Turks and Caicos Islands to “be alert, be prepared.”

The Governor said that there have been a series of meetings, from the beginning of the year to present, with the disaster management committee, headed by the Premier and himself and it has been progressively productive.

The issue was also raised in Cabinet yesterday and Governor Freeman said, “This is a whole of Government issue. Every ministry has a role to play, all of the DC’s in the family islands have a role to play.”

Members of the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies (DDME) also revealed that they have been monitoring the Atlantic, and recently observed the third named storm and its effects in the region. There have also been a “slew of Tropical storm events” as well. Consequently, DDME is urging all residents, especially those who have not taken the hurricane season seriously, to have their family preparedness plans.

The Department and its supporting agencies, have, throughout the year, been taking steps to ensure that the public is aware of what to do in the face of a hurricane by launching various applications and social media messages. If, however, there is a serious threat to the islands, DDME advised that communication via text messages would then be disseminated to reach all cross sections of the islands.

However, not only is it important to know what to do before a natural disaster hits, but the Assistant Commissioner of Police, Rodney Adams advised all persons on the Turks and Caicos Islands, “after the passage of a storm, please stay put until the all clear is given by DDME.” He explained the reason for this is because being on the streets, “only places yourselves and other emergency service responders in a risky situation.”

Though Hurricane Matthew did not directly affect the Turks and Caicos Islands in 2016 as it did other neighboring islands like The Bahamas, everyone at the press meeting could not reiterate enough, the importance of being prepared.

Governor Freeman admitted though, “There are still things that need to be further refined and done” however he said, “We are determined to do as much as we can.”

Story By: Kay-Marie Fletcher

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