NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (July 15, 2021) – – The various disaster mechanisms on Nevis are in a state of preparedness as the peak of the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaches.
In a statement during the sitting of the Nevis Island Assembly on July 13, 2021, Deputy Premier Hon. Alexis Jeffers, Minister responsible for Disaster Management in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA), said he is pleased with the level of preparedness at the government and agency levels.
The Nevis Disaster Management Committee (NDMC) has continued its preparatory work and actions in anticipation of this hurricane season, convening its first meeting on April 20, 2021 chaired by Minister Jeffers.
“The [Nevis Disaster Management Department] NDMD staff has participated in several regional meetings to date and also some training via webinars. The Nevis Disaster Management Plan and Emergency Contact Lists have also been updated and have been circulated to the general public. All sub-committees reported a state of readiness. Emergency Shelters as well have been inspected and a list has been circulated to the general public via the local media and also on social media,” he said.
He also informed that the Cotton Ground and Pond Hill community centres have been outfitted with 1000-gallon water tanks and aluminum hurricane shutters, and [very high frequency] VHF radio equipment has been installed at the Cotton Ground Community Centre. VHF Radio equipment is scheduled to be installed at the Butlers, Pond Hill and Albertha Payne (Bath Village) community centres compliments Japan Embassy Grassroots funding.
Hon. Jeffers advised the general public to shore up their disaster preparedness plans as the updated projections cite more named storms and hurricanes for this season than was previously forecast.
“The hurricane season, of course, is in high gear at this time and it is important for us to always be prepared and stay prepared…Five named storms have already occurred before the end of July… The Colorado State University on July 9th updated their forecast with an increased number of named storms from 17 to 20 and the number of hurricanes from eight to nine…
“I want to reiterate our stance from the Nevis Disaster Management Department that you can never be too prepared…We know not what the rest of the season will hold for us. All of us will pray that we are spared this year…I would say it’s God’s blessing that we have been spared of any major disaster over the last five years at least, but we have had our challenges and we know what storms can do in recent times…so we do not want to be caught unprepared.”
He called on persons to examine their homes, do the necessary basic things that are needed to enhance the security of their property, put all important documents where they can be retrieved at short notice, develop an escape plan, and to evacuate if called upon to do so.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecasters predict a 60 percent chance of an above-normal season with between six and ten hurricanes in 2021. This includes three to five major hurricanes -meaning a hurricane that is a Category 3, 4, or 5, with winds of at least 111 miles per hour.
The Atlantic Hurricane Season extends from June 01 to November 30 each year. The peak of the season is from mid-August to late October.