Deputy Prime Minister, Reginald Austrie, has shot down claims that the country will be shut down on Sunday as the island awaits the potential impact of Hurricane Beryl.
The claim has been spreading on social media on Friday as the hurricane approaches the Lesser Antilles.
“Please note that ODM will be shutting the country on Sunday..please get all what you need today and tomorrow. Please pass on,” the message reads.
But Austrie said that cabinet has not made a decision on such matter.
“The cabinet has not taken a decision on a total shut down, however, if it becomes necessary, the general public will be advised,” he said.
Austrie said the government is seeking the cooperation of all Dominicans to adequately prepare for the hurricane and to find safe shelter.
“Avoid being in areas that are deemed to be unsafe, like close to waterways and areas prone to landslides,” he stated. “More information will be communicated through NEPO as the weather system gets closer. The advanced stage of technology and communication and inaccurate communication, we are calling on Dominican citizens to access credible information from credible sources. My fellow Dominicans lets us pray to God for divine intervention in this situation as we are trying to put ourselves together after Hurricane Maria. Dominica does not need a repeat of such a situation at this time.”
Meanwhile, Austrie called for a neighborly approach when it comes to hurricane shelters.
“Fellow Dominicans, this is where we all have to play our parts,” he noted. “The shelter subcommittee and the ODM have been advocating a neigbhourly approach to sheltering this Hurricane Season, which means if u have a structurally sound building that you may take in your neighbour for safekeeping during the passage of the hurricane. It is advisable therefore that people who are seeking shelter move with the bare necessities but should carry adequate food and water supply for up to three days.
He said that a preliminarhy shelter list has been in circulation for the past weeks and it is everyone’s responsibility to know where the shelters are.
At 11:00 am Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 10.7 degrees north and longitude 46.5 degrees west or about 913 miles east south-east of Dominica.
Beryl is moving west at 15 mph (24km/h) with maximum sustained winds are near 80mph or 130km/h.
On the forecast track, the center of Hurricane Beryl will approach the Lesser Antilles over the weekend and cross the island chain late Sunday or Monday.