The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is advising the public that the Meteorological Service has placed Jamaica on a Hurricane Watch as Hurricane Gustav continues to strengthen. A Hurricane Watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within 36 hours.
In response to the threat posed by Gustav, the ODPEM has fast-tracked its emergency response activities:
- The subcommittees of the National Response Team (NRT) will meet today to discuss preparatory and response plans to Gustav. These subcommittees are Damage Assessment, Recovery and Rehabilitation, Shelter and Welfare, Telecommunications, Emergency Operations and Transportation, Public Information, and Finance and Administration. The National Response Team (NRT) will meet afterwards.
- The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) will be activated at a level one activation throughout today but could see a scaling up of this activation by later tonight.
- A list of all priority shelters will be published later this morning. Shelter managers have already been alerted to the threat of Gustav.
The public is therefore advised to continue monitoring radios and televisions for further advisories and to avoid areas that are at risk from flooding and landslides. Also take the following precautions in the event of heavy rains:
- Avoid flooded waterways, gullies, streams or rivers, either on foot or in vehicles.
- Be ready to evacuate if you live in low-lying or flood-prone areas.
- Decide on likely evacuation routes now. Plan to stay with family or friends in safer areas or in a public shelter and move to safety.
- Wrap important personal items, family documents, and electrical appliances in plastic bags and store away from the reach of floodwaters.
- Fishers and other marine interests are being advised to exercise extreme caution and to secure their boats and other equipments.
The progress of Hurricane Gustav will continue to be closely monitored by the Meteorological Service of Jamaica and the ODPEM and updates will be released to the public as soon as new information has been gathered.