Dominican Gov't Minister: 'Be prepared for hurricane season'

The hurricane season is here and officials of the nature island of Dominica, located in the Hurricane belt, believe T&T and other Caribbean islands need to prepare for the hurricane season now.

Minister for the Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal Joseph Isaac says Dominican has shown resilience after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in September 2017.

This experience, he believes, can be used to assist other Caribbean islands with preparation.

Isaac recommended that hurricane centres needed to be established across all countries. He said certain critical pieces of equipment in hospitals should be upgraded so they could be powered by solar energy so that in the event of a power cut, people will not die.

"The key thing is preparation at the grassroots level because when a hurricane strikes it is the communities that are affected," Isaac said.

He added that basic resources must be provided to the people in the communities. He also said that at the household level people must begin getting ready as well.

"The community needs to.mobilize before a hurricane and you need certain pieces of equipment in place throughout the islands so that if a hurricane strikes, you will be able to clear rivers, drains and move debris, " he said.

He noted, " Medical facilities must also prepare using solar energy so that dialysis equipment can be powered."

He said after Maria, the Dominican Government put in place a National Disaster plan in place.

He said the society must be hyped about preparation for hurricanes. Isaac noted that the psycho-social impact after a hurricane is great. 

Expressing thanks to the international community for assisting Dominica during its time of need, Isaac said his government was willing to assist the T&T government with hurricane readiness. 

He explained that before Maria struck, there were over 75,000 visitors per year in Dominica but after the hurricane, tourism declined. In 2019, visitor arrivals went back up to 70,000.

He said Dominica was now on a quest to plant 1 million trees by 2021.

They are also building 5,000 hurricane resilient homes.

 - by Radhica De Silva in Dominica.