Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Hurricane season to bring more mosquitoes - Ennis

Published:Thursday | June 2, 2016 | 6:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Desmond McKenzie, (right) Minister of Local Government and Community Development examines a hurrcane lamp with from left Stephen Shaw, manager, Communication and Customer Service at National Works Agency, Richard Thompson, deputy director general of ODPEM and Percival Stewart, director, operations of the National Solid Waste Management Authority yesterday at The Jamaica Pegasus.

Jamaicans are being warned to brace for a marked increase in mosquitoes with the start of the 2016 hurricane season.

Speaking at a press conference and prayer breakfast to launch Disaster Preparedness Month, Dr Melody Ennis, director, emergency, disaster management and special services in the Ministry of Health, said that the projections for the season signal that there has to be a collaborative approach to detecting new diseases should they occur.

"We are approaching the rainy season which means the mosquitoes will be out in their numbers," she declared.

"As such, we have to be able to contain whichever illness that is transmitted. We have four on our hands: the chikungunya, dengue, Zika virus and yellow fever. We must ensure that surveillance is heightened," she urged.

"Where it hits the ground is resource mobilisation. We have our eyes out because we are not only watching Jamaica, but the entire world. Inter-vector management is absolutely critical. We have had to strengthen our management system; we have had to build capacity; we have had utilise temporary workers and increase volunteers," she said.

 

10-16 named storm

 

Based on data and predictions from several world-leading weather agencies, it is forecast that there will be approximately 10-16 named storms, four to eight hurricanes, and one to four intense hurricanes.

Having done a snapshot of critical sectors within the country, the special services director noted that morgues, transportation, and some hospital services are in need of urgent attention if they are to respond effectively to disasters.

"Our morgue services are of concern, serious concern. We have outsourced a lot of our services, and the standards to which those persons performing the services should be held requires some attention," Ennis lamented.

"If we have persons dying from landslides and other disasters, where are these persons going to go? We have morgue services that can't keep a body for 24 hours. I need not explain further what can happen should bodies be kept for weeks. It can be a nightmare and have ripple effects of diseases," she continued.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com