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'Prepare for hurricane season' - Negril under threat as a result of beach erosion

Published:Wednesday | May 21, 2014 | 12:00 AM

 Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Staff Reporter

AN APPEAL has been made for proper mechanisms to be put in place to mitigate against adverse effects as the country braces for the upcoming hurricane season which begins June 1.

Making reference to the current state of beach erosion in Negril, Clifford Mahlung, head of the climate branch at the Meteorological Office of Jamaica, said the situation should be addressed urgently.

"If a powerful storm should come and sit west of us for a period of time during this season, eventually, there will be no Negril," he declared.

"The situation in Negril has been made worse due to the passage of several storms. The coral reefs are badly damaged by storm surges, and so there is no barrier there to dampen the effect of the wind. With the rise in sea level, things can become worse," Mahlung told The Gleaner.

He stressed that proper solutions should be made quickly instead of ongoing talks.

Solution needed

"A solution has to be made one way or the other. There have been talks and various suggestions being put forward, but we must arrive at a sustainable path once and for all," he said.

"It will take a combination of things, including spending money wisely and knowing our priorities," Mahlung continued.

He also urged the public to take the necessary precautions for the upcoming hurricane season.

"This year, we are expecting fewer storm systems, normal to below normal systems. We should see three to six systems and three to four becoming storms," Mahlung said.

"We are in touch with the National Hurricane Office in Florida, so if something should form which would threaten the island, we can know about it well in advance and make the necessary adjustments," he said.

He added: "I urge citizens, therefore, to start preparing from now and put the necessary mechanisms in place. Buy an extra tin of sardine whenever you can and make preparations."