‘This is no joke!’

McKen­zie urges se­ri­ous re­sponse to Matthew

Jamaica Gleaner - - FRONT PAGE -

“THIS IS not a jok­ing mat­ter!” That was the warn­ing from Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter Des­mond McKen­zie as he urged res­i­dents to pre­pare for the pas­sage of Matthew, a pow­er­ful cat­e­gory four hur­ri­cane (at press time) bar­relling through the cen­tral Caribbean Sea to­wards Ja­maica.

A hur­ri­cane watch was is­sued yes­ter­day, mean­ing that Ja­maica would, in 48 hours, ex­pe­ri­ence “dan­ger­ously high wa­ter or a com­bi­na­tion of dan­ger­ously high wa­ter and ex­cep­tion­ally high waves, even though winds ex­pected may be less than hur­ri­cane force”.

The fore­cast at press time last night said the cen­tre of Hur­ri­cane Matthew was lo­cated near 445 miles south-east of Mo­rant Point and would re­main over the south-cen­tral Caribbean Sea to­day be­fore turn­ing to­wards Ja­maica’s ter­ri­to­rial waters to­mor­row morn­ing.

Matthew was mov­ing near nine miles per hour with hur­ri­cane-force winds ex­tend­ing up to 35 miles from the cen­tre and trop­i­cal storm-force winds up to 195 miles.

McKen­zie said yes­ter­day that the Gov­ern­ment, un­der the in­struc­tion of Prime Min­is­ter An­drew Hol­ness, was go­ing “full speed” with pre­pared­ness and re­sponse ef­forts, and in­sisted that cit­i­zens must do their part.

PRE­PARED­NESS PLANS

“There is still a wide cross section of Ja­maicans who don’t be­lieve that this sys­tem is com­ing. So it means that per­sons con­tinue to prac­tise the same thing that they nor­mally do when hur­ri­canes are pend­ing,” he told jour­nal­ists yes­ter­day af­ter meet­ing with faith-based groups and key emer­gency agen­cies. “This is not some­thing that peo­ple should take for a joke. We are putting in place all the nec­es­sary ar­range­ments so that we can re­spond to the needs. This is a na­tional cri­sis, and it is a na­tional re­sponse that the Gov­ern­ment is giv­ing. There is no room for any mis­chief to be made as we face one of the most se­vere nat­u­ral dis­as­ters in quite a long while.” Con­gested streets and long lines at shops and su­per­mar­kets across the Cor­po­rate Area yes­ter­day gave an in­di­ca­tion that some cit­i­zens may be heed­ing the warn­ings to stock up on es­sen­tial sup­plies. Mean­while, ef­forts were be­ing made to lo­cate all of the es­ti­mated 2,000 street peo­ple across the is­land and place them in shel­ters, which will all open to­mor­row. The Ja­maica Ur­ban Tran­sit Com­pany is on standby to help with evac­u­a­tion, es­pe­cially of res­i­dents of south­ern Claren­don, McKen­zie said. The Na­tional Solid Waste Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity has been au­tho­rised to get new trucks as it will be work­ing 24 hours ev­ery day to re­move garbage across the coun­try. Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment, mean­while, have been ad­vanced $1 mil­lion each to help with re­sponse ef­forts.

CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO/AC­CUWEATHER.COM

MCKEN­ZIE

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