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Message from Iram Lewis, minister of state for disaster preparedness, management and reconstruction

Fellow Bahamians and residents, tropical storms or hurricanes are among the primary natural hazards faced by the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and meteorologists have advised that the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be above-average in activity.

Traditionally, hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30, the period of each year when most tropical cyclones form in the Atlantic Basin. However, this year, we saw the formation of tropical storms Arthur and Bertha, on May 16 and 27, respectively, showing us that it is possible that these storms can form at any time, so we must be always be prepared.

Bahamians can be assured that the government of The Bahamas, through the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction and its agencies – namely, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) – will continue working to ensure that, as a country, we are prepared for the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season.

I am immensely grateful for the continued support of the many teams in government ministries, departments and statutory bodies that work together in preparing our country and keeping us safe during emergencies and disasters. I am equally grateful for the support of many international partners, both nation states and non-governmental organizations.

Shelter inspections throughout the Family Islands are completed and plans for the effective management of shelters and the protection of the vulnerable population are in place. One of the objectives is to ensure that social distancing is maintained in order to prevent an outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

NEMA has procured and deployed relief items throughout the islands, giving us the ability to quickly mobilize relief efforts. We have made upgrades to our communication systems throughout the archipelago.

A hurricane at the time of the COVID-19 pandemic makes our preparedness and response activities more challenging. As we prepare for the possibility of a hurricane, we must each continue following the Ministry of Health’s guidelines: wear a face mask in public, practice social distancing and continue good hygiene practices like frequent hand washing.

The government is doing its part but each of us must also do our part to prepare. Assemble your emergency preparedness kits, create your household evacuation plans, stay informed of the latest updates from NEMA and brace and reinforce your homes and business for possible impact.

Preparedness through awareness is critical and involves all of us playing our respective parts. Our resilience depends on preparedness, as a household, as a community and as a nation.

Be informed. Visit NEMA’s website at www.nema.gov.bs.

We pray for an uneventful season, but if impacted, we are prepared to respond effectively to minimize the level of dislocation and recover speedily.

May God bless the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

 

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