NASSAU, The Bahamas – The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, is bracing for another hurricane season, focusing on the watchwords, “Be Disaster Resilient. Be Prepared”.
Prime Minister Dr the Hon Hubert A Minnis has declared the Month of June as “Disaster Preparedness Month”, as NEMA is strongly urging the public to do their part in preparing for any disaster, natural or manmade.
Tragically the Hurricane Season commenced with the deaths of a reported 4 people and about 24 injured during the Randol Fawkes Labour Day Parade. The Prime Minister issued a statement of condolences regarding this holiday tragedy.
Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA also said that NEMA is saddened by the events of the Labour Day Parade and extends condolences to the families of those who died and wished the injured a speedy recovery.
He commended the first responders who assisted in saving the lives of those wounded, while managing the event.
Captain Russell noted that NEMA has long moved to focus on comprehensive disaster management, in keeping with regional and international protocols and best practices.
However, the public is being reminded that the Hurricane Season is June 1 to November 30.
A number of public relations activities are being planned to bring about a new sense of awareness. They are:
- Sunday, June 3 , National Church Service 11am, New Providence Community Church, Blake Road;
- Friday, June 8 9am – 4pm, National Hurricane Readiness Table Top Exercise;
- Thursday, June 14, Community Walk-about in areas impacted by Hurricane Matthew 2016, 5pm-7pm;
- June 11 – 21, Community Presentations on Disaster Mitigation and Preparedness;
- Saturday, June 23, Exhibition at NEMA, Gladstone Road, 10am – 7pm;
- Saturday, June 30, Community Fun, Run, Walk; 6:30am; and,
- June 4-29, Media Blitz: Radio, TV, And Social Media.
Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA is mindful that communities, particularly Ragged Island are still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Irma, which struck last year September.
On Friday, May 25, 2018 the national disaster consultative committee held its regular monthly meeting during which representatives of the Emergency Support Function (ESF) groups reported on their respective levels of readiness ahead of the hurricane season.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1 and runs through November 30. And, occasionally, storms can form outside those months as happened in 2017 when Tropical Storm Arlene formed in April. This year, Subtropical Storm Alberto was the first tropical cyclone of the year to enter the Gulf of Mexico in May since Hurricane Abel in 1951.
Captain Russell underscored the importance of lessons learned from the last three major consecutive storms, which impacted The Bahamas – Hurricanes Joaquin, Matthew and Irma.
“People must adhere to warnings issued by the disaster management officials, particularly if it relates to evacuating certain areas; and take measures in a timely manner to safeguard their properties as best they can,” Capt Russell said. He further advised, “Residents also need to have a disaster plan for their families and not wait until the last minute to find out where they have to go, in the event their homes would be compromised.”
The Colorado State University Tropical Meteorology Project Outlook has predicted that this year, the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season calls for 14 named storms, 7 hurricanes and 3 at category 3 or higher.
The 2018 storm names: Alberto, Beryl, Chris, Debby, Ernesto, Florence, Gordon, Helene, Isaac, Joyce, Kirk, Leslie, Michael, Nadine, Oscar, Patty, Rafael, Sara, Tony, Valerie and William