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Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 12, 2020 (SKNIS): With the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaching, Abdias Samuel, National Disaster Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said that despite having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency has already commenced preparedness measures.

“For example, the Housing and Shelter Sub-committee has already done most of their inspections. Our Emergency Shelters are already identified and they will be going to Cabinet for approval, and the other processes have begun,” said Mr. Samuel, adding that NEMA relies on its 10 national sub-committees that are “working remotely.”

He used the occasion – the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC) COVID-19 Daily Briefing for April 12, 2020 – to once again publicly applaud the health fraternity for doing an exceptional job in keeping citizens and residents protected from the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“I think that the health sector is doing a good job in managing the pandemic and if necessary, everything will be integrated into the general response that we have going,” he said. “If impacted [by the hurricane season], then we have some of our regional partners like CDEMA to assist us. We also have USAID/OFDA who have said that they are ready to respond if necessary.”

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is a regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), while the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is responsible for leading and coordinating the U.S. government’s response to disasters overseas.

Mr. Samuel reminded citizens and residents that they have a part to play in the fight against any pandemic or disaster.

“You know that our borders are closed and if our borders are closed that means that you the citizens will have a great role to play in determining how we respond, manage and recover from any impact of any hurricane in St. Kitts and Nevis,” he said. “Also, I want to remind you that the outcome of how quickly we address this pandemic is dependent on you the citizens doing your part.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season officially begins on June 01 and runs until November 30.

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