The 2020 hurricane season is about to begin and work is apace in islands such as Grenada to ensure that amid the COVID-19 pandemic that the island, and others in the region, are prepared for still another possible disaster.

The National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) states that it has been working tirelessly to ensure that amid its response to the COVID-19 pandemic its hurricane preparedness plan was also activated, ensuring that all the mandatory actions are completed for the June 1 start.

The National Emergency Advisory Council (NEAC) recently convened a general meeting, where all major sectors represented on the body reported on their level of readiness for the upcoming season.

Minister of State with responsibility for Disaster Management and Chairman of the meeting Senator Dr Winston Garraway said: “The agency will continue to work with all partners to increase preparedness and to coordinate response and recovery capabilities. This hurricane season which is forecast to be above average will add new challenges to an already battered economy by COVID-19. It only takes one hurricane to change the lives of a community.”

Last year’s approved list of 137 shelters in Grenada will remain in effect until a new updated list is approved.

In addition, the Agency will be participating in a joint simulation exercise on May 31 with St Vincent and the Grenadines in order to test the readiness of their communication equipment.

NaDMA says 2020 is expected to be a unique year for Disaster Management, as the key sectors and players will need to review their hurricane plans congruent with the COVID-19 regulations which currently exist.

With an above-average season forecast for this year’s cyclonic period which runs from June 1 to November 30 in the midst of this pandemic, the Authority says this serves as a reminder to the population of the need to always be prepared.

With most people still working from home, NaDMA is urging citizens to set aside some time to ensure that their gutters are cleared, drains opened and emergency supply kits restocked.