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HomeLatest NewsDominica prepares for 2021 hurricane season

Dominica prepares for 2021 hurricane season

By Caribbean News Global contributor

ROSEAU, Dominica – The Atlantic hurricane season which extends from June 1 – November 30 is expected to be an above-normal season; meanwhile, the government of Dominica is in the process of erecting a 40-bed hospital at the Botanic Gardens.

2021 Atlantic hurricane

Senior Meteorological Officer, Marshal Alexander

Senior Meteorological Officer, Marshal Alexander noted: “The reason for the predictions this year is because of the absence of El Niño. So we are seeing neutral conditions and we are expecting La Niña conditions to come in. Because El Niño would mean fewer storms produced in the Atlantic because it would provide a level of wind share that will prevent systems from developing. But in the absence of El Niño, it would allow for more storms to develop. Another reason is that we expect warmer than average temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean and warm sea surface temperatures would be the drivers for the production of storms through evaporation. And then we have weaker Tropical Atlantic Trade Winds. We have a system of winds over West Africa that would be favourable for the development of storms because you know we have tropical waves forming over Africa and then moving over the Atlantic,” the Government Information Service (GIS) reported.

For 2021, a likely range of 13 to 20 named storms (winds of 39 mph or higher), of which 6 to 10 could become hurricanes (winds of 74 mph or higher), including 3 to 5 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher) is expected, says The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center, with a 70 percent confidence.

The Disaster Fighters initiative will be launched on May 31. 

As the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season approaches, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with support from the World Bank, is launching an initiative to improve disaster preparedness and resilience in the region. Coined “Disaster Fighters”, the initiative includes participation from current and former cricketers, Caribbean musical talent, and other influential figures to spread critical survival messages related to hurricanes, volcanoes, COVID-19 and other hazards.

Disaster Fighters will also engage communities on social media channels such as Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and critical prevention messages and materials will be housed on the initiative’s website.

Dominica: 40-bed mobile medical facility

As recent hurricane updates allow for more storms in an average season and given Domnica experience the 40-bed mobile medical facility donated by the US Embassy “is expected to provide extra assistance in the case of a disaster,” the Government Information Service (GIS) reported.

Programme Officer at the Office of Disaster Management (ODM), Mandella Christian stated that they were able to secure the donation through the efforts of the ODM as they gather resources for the hurricane season.

” … This was made possible under the Humanitarian Assistance Programme of the United States Southern Command and it was facilitated through the Military Liaison Office of the United States Embassy for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean,” Christian further described the facility as a ‘self-contained unit,’ due to its many amenities including 40 beds, a 70 KVA generator, a backup water purification storage and distribution system, air-condition, washroom facilities, showers and chemical toilets.”

Programme Officer Christian said: “The purpose of this facility is not to be a permanent installation. It is meant to be erected based on need as directed by the ministry of health. It can be erected anywhere on island once there is an expanse of flat land. It will be erected to provide medical care and support to an impacted population.

“ As the facility is being erected, the training of relevant stakeholders in the handling and preparation of the facility is simultaneously ongoing. As part of the donation, the US government would have sent down an instructor from the company that designed and built the facility. The instructor is training participants from different stakeholders. We have participants from the ministry of health, the office of disaster management, the fire and ambulance service and the Dominica Cadet Corps. So we are training a cadre of national technicians to assemble the facility … In the event that God forbid, our medical facilities become overwhelmed then we have this backup system that we can call on.”

Dominica’s disaster management efforts are ongoing. And according to programme officer Christian about the very generous donation of the 40-bed mobile medical facility; “It will go a very long way in supporting and advancing our disaster preparedness and response operations in Dominica.”

      • With a file from GIS
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