Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Monday | June 1, 2009
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Old Harbour Bay community prepares for storm season
The community of Old Harbour Bay in St Catherine has had its fair share of woes caused by hurricanes.

And so this year, several residents are seeking to be better prepared for the Atlantic hurricane season which begins today.

Last Thursday, several residents were seen cleaning drains in their communities and reinforcing roofs to withstand the winds associated with passage of a storm.

Some Old Harbour Bay residents said they were still haunted by the memories of Hurricane Dean in 2007 that wreaked havoc, leaving a number of residents homeless.

Strong winds and raging tides ripped apart communities, such as Panton Town and Station Lane.

Disaster Committee input

Meanwhile, disaster coordinator for St Catherine, Patricia Lewis, said the Parish Disaster Preparedness Committee had been working with the residents in promoting disaster-mitigation mechanisms.

"There is a cadre of 100 shelter managers to be deployed in case of emergency," she said. "These persons will be working with other support groups to secure the more than 60 shelters in the parish."

She told The Gleaner that a number of parish disaster coordinators were being trained by the Canadian International Development Agency in capacity building.

New approach

Lewis said this new approach would enable the coordinators to better manage the operations during a disaster.

While asking for support from corporate Jamaica, Lewis said the St Catherine Parish Disaster Committee was trying to be self-reliant and had a start-up fund of $250,000 to assist needy persons.

She told The Gleaner that with the high level of preparedness activities being undertaken, it was clear that persons were more aware of their responsibilities during and after a disaster.

- Rasbert Turner

'There is a cadre of 100 shelter managers to be deployed in case of emergency.'

- Lewis

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