Shelter managers in St Elizabeth prepare for hurricane season

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Shelter managers in St Elizabeth prepare for hurricane season

Saturday, July 11, 2020

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MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica — Shelter managers in St Elizabeth recently underwent a refresher course as part of a shelter management forum held to better prepare them for the 2020 hurricane season and other disasters.

The forum was held at St Matthew's Anglican Church in Santa Cruz, St Elizabeth, on Friday, and the new shelter management guidelines for an active hurricane season were outlined.

Forecasters are predicting that this hurricane season is likely to see the formation of 13 to 19 named storms, of which six to 10 could become hurricanes, including three to six major cyclones.

Friday's training exercise also incorporated risk planning for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the potential impact on shelters.

Speaking at the event, chairman of the St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation, Councillor Derrick Sangster, emphasised the important work of shelter managers in the context of a pandemic.

“Your duty has become even more critical and your duty, to some extent, will take on a little bit more importance in that you have to be so much more careful now of yourself and persons that are going to be in your charge because of the COVID-19 pandemic that is upon us,” he explained.

“We appreciate that you are volunteering in this critical time. I know that you will do your best in the case of an emergency or disaster, and you will carry out your duty efficiently and to the best of your capability,” he added.

Sangster, who is also Mayor of Black River, indicated that the municipality and other stakeholders will give full support to equip shelters with the necessary resources.

St Elizabeth currently has approximately 200 managers to serve over 94 official shelters.

The shelter management forum was organised by the St Elizabeth Municipal Corporation in partnership with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the St Elizabeth Health Department.

The training was carried out by parish disaster coordinators from St Elizabeth, St James and Kingston & St Andrew.

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