Minister for National Security and Home Affairs, Rayburn Blackmoore, says that the impact of Covid-19 has placed additional requirements and challenges on the country’s preparedness and response activities for the upcoming hurricane season.
Speaking at a meeting of the National Emergency Planning Organization (NEPO) earlier this week, Blackmoore said that the presence of the pandemic across the region and globally is a clear indication that business, as usual, is not an option.
“This year’s prediction is for an active above average Hurricane season. Meanwhile, I am reminded that in spite of the season prediction it only takes one system to cause significant damage to our island and our people,” he said. “With these in mind, the government has been doing everything possible to ensure that this country is ready and that all of us must play our part.”
Blackmoore indicated that the level of external assistance that Dominica could have explained before, may not be available going forward.
“We have to learn how to execute our responsibilities while adapting to the changes brought on us by this major crisis,” he said.
However, he said the leadership and the people of Dominica are not daunted by these new developments.
“We have shown that we are capable of rising to the challenges as we have seen thus far in our response to Covid-19 and even more so the great strides we have made since Hurricane Maria in 2017,” the minister stated. “Our experience with Hurricane Maria should be enough for us to know what can happen, should the island be seriously affected and that we should all be prepared in every respect.”
Blackmoore said he has made it his duty to ensure that the relevant stakeholders have been actively engaged in planning and preparing for the new Hurricane season.
Furthermore, he noted that the sub-committee of NEPO has been meeting and ensuring that necessary provisions are being made.
“We recognize that the provision of emergency shelters during this season is one that requires much thought and necessary arrangements must be put in place as we all should comply with the requirements for physical distancing…,” Blackmoore noted.
He gave the assurance that despite COVID-19, all efforts will continue to ensure the safety, security and well-being of all.
“Rest assured that the maintenance of law and order at any given time is paramount, more so, during emergency and disaster situations,” the minister stated.
Blackmoore called on all able-bodied persons to build a spirit of voluntary work to ensure that all of the hazards in the communities can be eliminated.
“Help clean the drains in our communities…,” he encouraged. “Help the elderly and neighbours to cut the trees over his or her house, volunteer to assist in a shelter and at the same time comply with the instruction by the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment.”