Wed | Dec 1, 2021

St James shelters 85% ready for 2021 hurricane season

Published:Friday | May 28, 2021 | 12:12 AMChristopher Thomas/Gleaner Writer
St James Disaster Contest Winners: Front row – Shaheim Morris (centre), first-place winner of Albion Primary and Junior High School; Jevaughn Jones (right), second-place winner and a student of Flanker Primary School; and Philesha Gooden, third-place win
St James Disaster Contest Winners: Front row – Shaheim Morris (centre), first-place winner of Albion Primary and Junior High School; Jevaughn Jones (right), second-place winner and a student of Flanker Primary School; and Philesha Gooden, third-place winner and a student of Herbert Morrison Technical High School, pose with the posters they made for the competition, following an awards ceremony held for them at the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC) on Thursday, May 27. Standing behind them (from left): Gerald Lee, StJMC chief executive officer; Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams; and Montego Bay Deputy Mayor Richard Vernon.
Tamoy Sinclair, parish disaster coordinator for St James.
Tamoy Sinclair, parish disaster coordinator for St James.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

With the start of the 2021 hurricane season just days away, Tamoy Sinclair, parish disaster coordinator for St James, says the parish’s 63 disaster shelters are at 85 per cent readiness, including the designated isolation areas for COVID-19 management.

“As it relates to the shelters in the parish of St James, the state of readiness is pretty heightened,” said Sinclair during yesterday’s press briefing at the St James Municipal Corporation (StJMC). “We have had a team of inspectors going out to inspect the shelters, and we have adhered to the national shelter management protocol, which dictates and stipulates the procedures for COVID-19, and this has also been shared with the shelter managers, so I would say we are 85 per cent ready.”“Naturally, COVID-19 is health-related, and so the health department had a lot of say in terms of how the shelter managers ought to address the persons when they do come in at the shelters,” continued Sinclair.

“We not only provided the shelter managers with their personal protective equipment, but also sanitation items for persons coming to the shelters. Also, through the inspection process, we highlighted an area for isolation for every single facility that is utilised as a shelter in the parish,” added Sinclair.The restriction of COVID-19 spread at shelters in the event of a natural disaster is extremely crucial for St James, which continues to be the parish with the highest number of COVID-19 cases in western Jamaica and the third-highest nationally.

COVID-19

As of Wednesday, St James has recorded 4,595 of Jamaica’s 48,180 recorded COVID-19 cases. Of the other three parishes under the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) umbrella, Westmoreland has 2,061; Trelawny, 1,651; and Hanover, 1,288. Nationally, St James trails behind Kingston and St Andrew’s 13,495 cases and St Catherine’s 9,508 cases.In his address at the press briefing, Montego Bay Mayor Leeroy Williams said that the StJMC has already made contact with emergency first-responder groups and state agencies to render assistance in case of a disaster.

“The StJMC is in contact with our first responders like the Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Red Cross, and the public health services, and they all say they are in a state of readiness. In the event that there are disasters such as land slippages and we need heavy-duty equipment to clear them, we do have the Jamaica Defence Force and the National Works Agency, and they are prepared and ready in the event that there is a disaster,” said Williams.

The press briefing was held immediately following an awards ceremony for the top three winners of the StJMC’s 13th annual Disaster Education Awareness Competition, which was held under this year’s theme ‘Managing disasters when they strike; do your part, be COVID-19 smart.’

Shaheim Morris, a student of Albion Primary and Junior High School, copped the first-place finish in this year’s competition, while second place went to Jevaughn Jones of Flanker Primary School, and third place went to Philesha Gooden of Herbert Morrison Technical High School.

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