Saturday, April 20, 2024

All clear issued but DEM still urges residents to stay indoors


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BARBADOS HAS BEEN given the “all clear” in the wake of the passing of Tropical Storm Harvey.

But the country’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) is still asking Barbadians to stay off the streets for a while longer, as they clear areas of debris, complete any necessary evacuations, and protect citizens from live electrical wires which pose a hazard.

Moments ago, director of the DEM, Kerry Hinds revealed that after consultation with the relevant authorities it was decided the country would resume normal proceedings, inclusive of the Public Service and the private sector.

Harvey lashed the island overnight, with heavy rains causing severe flooding mostly in the north of the country, but structural damage to houses was also reported in areas of Christ Church and St Philip.

The Barbados Meteorological Department had discontinued a storm warning at 8 a.m. and a flood warning one hour later, but Hinds noted their resources, inclusive of volunteers were on the road making sure all Barbadians are safe.

“After consultation with the head of the Civil Service, Dr Louis Woodroofe, we announced the Public Service would resume operations from 12 noon,” Hinds told reporters moments ago at the DEM’s emergency operations centre in Warrens, St Michael.

“The DEM was also in discussion with the executive director of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce, Carlos Wharton, and they are also in agreement with a 12 p.m. resumption of business.”

Hinds revealed that preparation for the resumption of business across the island, the Transport Board would immediately put into action, a plan to get its human resources in place so regularly scheduled bus services would resume.

The Transport Board’s manager for marketing and communications, Lynda Holder, noted, however, that this process would not be immediate and advised commuters to be patient, since the process would take time.

Hinds said the Transport Board’s services would resume in a staggered manner.

The DEM boss noted that when the storm warning was discontinued their resources were immediately given the green light. “We have first responders on the ground assessing the damage and ensuring critical arteries are cleared of debris, fallen trees and live power lines,” she told reporters.

Hinds urged residents to exercise extreme caution. She also revealed a mother and son who used the storm shelter at the Gordon Greenidge Primary School in St Peter were the only persons to utilise such facilities last night.

She revealed 13 reports of power outages had been made to the DEM, with residents calling from areas in St Michael, St George, St Joseph, St John, St Lucy, St Andrew, Christ Church and St James.

“Flooding was recorded in St Lucy, St James and Christ Church, and St Peter. In the northern parishes flood waters were quite high, but they are receding. Our crews are on the ground working assiduously to bring everything back to a state of normalcy,” Hinds noted.

She said an update on the state of the Grantley Adams International Airport would be provided later today.

The Barbados Meteorological Service, in their last advisory this morning, revealed that Harvey was now 90 kilometres west of Barbados, and heading easterly to nearby St Vincent and the Grenadines.

The storm is packing maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometres per hour. (BA)


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