NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (September 18, 2017) — The following is a statement by Premier of Nevis Hon. Vance Amory at his Pinney’s Estate office on September 18, 2017, regarding the impending passage of Hurricane Maria.
My fellow Citizens,
As we are aware, we are faced with an upcoming storm Hurricane Maria, which is believed will begin to affect Nevis and St. Kitts sometime later this evening.
I’ve just come out of a meeting with the manager of the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) and all of the sector managers – Health, Water, Public Works, Electricity and so on, to get a feel of the preparation which has been made.
I’ve been assured by them, that the sectors have made the necessary precautionary measures and that we are ready to face a storm.
However, may I caution, that we never know how a storm will behave. Within a few hours it could change. It could intensify. It could change direction and therefore, we are all requited, as individuals, even as the government has done, to take the necessary precautions to protect our property, to protect our lives, to protect our belongings and above all, during the storm, we must not venture outside.
I had a meeting this morning, as I indicated, and the Police were very concerned that some people seem to want to dare and to go out in the storm at all hours, when the storm has not yet declared as passed.
May I, encourage every one of you, that you take responsibility for your own safety. There is only so much that the government can do and we have done our part.
May I, ask that anyone knowing of any neighbour who needs special treatment, maybe someone who is disabled, someone who is older, elderly and lives alone, if you know they need special assistance, please call the Disaster Management Department at 1-869-668-6401, so that we can get assistance from those persons, to move them before the storm begins.
In addition to that, we have 10 shelters which have been opened and I will try to name them. We have the St. Paul’s Anglican Church, we have in the Brown Hill area, the Mazie Bartlett Centre, we have the Pond Hill Community Centre, we have Hanley’s Road, we have the Hardtimes Centre, we have in the St. James area the Franklyn Brown Centre and one in Butlers. All these shelters will be opened, in addition to the three centres in the St. Thomas’ area. That is, the Cotton Ground Community Centre, the Jessups Community Centre and the Barnes Ghaut Community Centre. All those will be opened effective 4 o’clock this afternoon.
The shelter managers have been advised, to be present to ensure that all is ready for those who need to move into the shelters.
May I advise, that if you believe, think or you are not certain if your property will not hold up, that you move to the shelters early.
One other note, please, if you have special dietary needs, please take your food with you. It is something which we need to remind you of, for you to take foods that can be consumed without the need for cooking, that you should take some water as well, that you should take your medication if you need to have medication and that you should take some bedding, some blankets if you do need to do so.
In the shelters, we will have some supplies. These supplies will be limited but we will certainly try to make the best of it, to ensure that anyone who comes into the shelter is comfortable.
And last of all, I want to make an appeal for persons who are in very vulnerable areas and I speak initially of the people in the Low Street area. We have been advised that some people are reluctant to move. Now, if you’re asked to move, please do so.
I myself, will go to the Low Street area, before I go home to make my own preparations, to encourage people to leave because we are expecting to have storm surge of some 13 feet or more which can break over the breakwater which we have there and could cause damage and could cause harm to those who do not move.
I would want to ask us all, individually and collectively, to pray for God’s protection and above all, as I said to the group this morning, we can pray but we can also prepare. If we prepare, it can make the difference between serious damage and serious loss of property, rather than if we do not prepare.
So, I wish that we will pass this storm Maria, in some safety and that we will have minimal, damage but we are all in the hands of God and pray that God will protect us.
Thank you. God bless you.