AS citizens prepare for the possibility of a tropical storm, Tobago authorities say they are ready for any outcome.
Following an emergency management response meeting yesterday, Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Farley Augustine held a news conference where he stated that all agencies and systems on the island are ready in the event that the system developed further, possibly bringing trauma to the island.
Augustine said, “I want to signal to the island of Tobago that we are ready for any possible outcomes, whatever those possible outcomes might be… I want Tobagonians to pay keen attention to every notice being sent out by the National Meteorological Service so that you are acting in accordance to what we are seeing based on that system.
“But again, it is an assurance that we are ready so far as our preparation for whatever the outcomes are. It’s too early for us to give a determination for what will be but, as the system develops, you will hear follow-up announcements.
“I don’t want individuals to panic. I don’t want you to begin to run helter-skelter. You need to remain calm as we prepare all that needs to be prepared in so far as the island’s infrastructure and the island’s response mechanisms and, in any case, we are in the rainy season.
“Every Caribbean citizen should know, once we approach June, you should begin to prepare your pantry for the rainy season and hurricane season.”
Farley also said Public Utilities Minister and acting National Security Minister Marvin Gonzales had reached out to him and they were in talks over both islands’ readiness.
Giving an update on the system yesterday, meteorologist at the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services (TTMS) Carolyn De Coteau said the system is going to affect the island from this evening into Wednesday.
She said, “This system is approximately 700 kilometres east of the Windward Islands and it is expected to intensify and start affecting us tomorrow (Tuesday/today) afternoon into Wednesday. We expect about three inches of rainfall which can be impactful to us as we’ve already had rainfall during the past few days.”
She added that the TTMS will issue a tropical system warning which means everyone can expect potential tropical storm or cyclone activity within the next 48 hours.
Also speaking yesterday, Director, Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Allan Stewart said there’s a strong possibility that, based on this event, homes and burgesses will be impacted.
“In other words, there could be a degree of damage… We expect that the population continue to ensure that they can at least take care of themselves for 72 hours. So, while that being said, we have a very rapid response. In the ongoing days, we will ensure that if the thing hits the fan to the extent where we are exhausted in terms of our resources, that the disaster management system of the country will come to bear,” he added.
Steward said at 6 p.m. today, the Emergency Operations Centre will go into full activation mode and all arms, including non-governmental organisations, private voluntary organisations and other Government agencies attached to the THA will make up the centre to coordinate the disaster responses effectively.
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