Don’t presume on ‘God is a Vincy’ this hurricane season – officials warn
Dr Idelia Ferdinand, Senior Education Officer
Front Page
June 25, 2024

Don’t presume on ‘God is a Vincy’ this hurricane season – officials warn

With an active hurricane season predicted for 2024, Vincentians are being urged to take warnings and watches seriously and not be complacent in planning for potential disasters.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) says the outlook for the 2024 Atlantic hurricane season has an 85 percent chance of an above-normal season, a 10 percent chance of a near-normal season, and a five percent chance of a below-normal season.

Stakeholders in local disaster preparedness discussed the country’s readiness on the SVGTV Viewpoint Programme on Sunday June 23,2024, with the warning being given to finalize preparations in advance.

Senior Education Officer, Dr Idelia Ferdinand, urged citizens to pay attention to advisories issued by the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO).

“Sometimes we say ‘nothing is going to happen ‘God is a Vincy’. Know where your shelters are, or where you are going to shelter in the event that there is an emergency.”

The NOAA forecasts a range of 17 to 25 total named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those, eight to 13 are forecast to become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including four to seven major hurricanes which could become category three, four or five with winds of 111 mph or higher.

Dr Ferdinand said assessments are ongoing to ensure that school plants are up to standard to accept persons who may need to evacuate from their homes.

“We have 16 schools that are part of our Schools Safety Programme where we look at compliance in terms of Safety standards. Come September, we are going to add schools to that. We have a list of criteria of what state we expect the schools to be in so that always our schools are in the best kept condition.”

Deputy Director of NEMO, Kenson Stoddard defended the agency’s position on disaster preparedness, saying that work is done well in advance of the June start to the hurricane season.

“We have meetings every September, and then we start planning for the upcoming season. The plans we make are four or five months in advance. In the NEMO system we work contingencies with our line agencies, where it be the police, the Ministry of Health, CWSA, we work with them to see what our challenges are.”

Stoddard stressed that the onus is not on NEMO alone to ensure that measures are put in place to mitigate a disaster, but every individual also needs to step up and set up an emergency plan.

“As a society we have to understand that NEMO starts with the individual …you have to put in place individual plans. Your safety is important.”