Prime Minister Andrew Holness is urging Jamaicans to prioritise safety measures to protect lives and property as the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season gets underway.
Speaking at a National Disaster Risk Management Council Meeting on Thursday (June 1), the Prime Minister emphasised the importance of listening to and following warnings issued by relevant authorities and relying on credible sources for information.
Holness highlighted the growing challenge of the “infodemic,” urging people to be cautious about the information they consume as it could have life-threatening consequences. He emphasised the need to manage the information intake, ensuring that it is accurate and reliable.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has predicted an active hurricane season, forecasting 12 to 17 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Out of these, five to nine storms could intensify into hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher. Among the hurricanes, one to four could reach major hurricane status with winds exceeding 111 mph.
To promote preparedness, the Prime Minister provided essential tips, such as stocking up on basic first-aid supplies, medication, and at least a two-day supply of non-perishable food and water. He also advised trimming trees near buildings or power lines and storing important documents in waterproof containers.
Holness urged residents in high-risk areas to remain vigilant and follow evacuation advisories by relocating to safer locations or visiting designated shelters.
Emphasising Jamaica’s vulnerability to natural disasters, the Prime Minister noted that the country ranks among the top 20 globally in terms of exposure to such events, primarily due to its low-lying coastal areas and five major fault lines. He highlighted the significant human and economic costs associated with past disasters, including hurricanes, storms, droughts, floods, and epidemics.
Holness called on Jamaicans to take the necessary precautions to mitigate risks and protect their lives and communities in the face of potential natural disasters.
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