With the 2022 Hurricane Season already underway, local charity Food For The Poor Jamaica is presently taking action to meet the expected challenges of this season, and the organisation is encouraging the various entities that it interacts with to follow its hurricane preparedness programme.
The organisation, in addition to providing over 36,000 homes for needy Jamaicans since its inception, has assisted thousands of farmers and fishers across the island and has repaired and upgraded hundreds of schools and other facilities, as well as provided relief care packages after adverse weather events.
In 2021, the nation was hit by two particularly destructive tropical storms, Grace and Ida, which caused considerable damage to buildings and other infrastructure.
Nakhle Hado, director of the Food For The Poor Jamaica’s agriculture division said, respective managers will be asked to review and provide updated information for the contacts of all stakeholders, vendors and partners, which list will be widely shared internally for ease of reference.
“At this time, we are conducting inspections of our offices, workstations and the facility in general, and are addressing any challenge that could negatively impact our operations and safety, should we experience major weather events,” Hado disclosed.
These standard inspections include roofs, windows and doors, trees around buildings/power lines (which are being pruned), the level of debris around the office that could become a hazard.
Further, Hado indicated that personnel should promptly and comprehensively report any outstanding matter/problem observed related to preparedness to the facility’s department or relevant office.
For 2022, the Jamaica Meteorological Service is predicting that, for the seventh consecutive year running, the Atlantic Hurricane Season will experience above-normal activity.
The outlook is for up to 21 named storms, six-to-10 hurricanes, and three-to-six major hurricanes (category 3 or higher).
According to the US-based National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this year there is a 65 per cent chance that the activity of the season will be higher than normal, while near-normal activity is about 25 per cent likely and there is only a 10 per cent likelihood that it will be below-normal.
The Met Service also cited a La Niña effect as one main factor expected to contribute to the increased activity. In addition, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures on the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, weaker Atlantic trade winds and an active West African monsoon season will favour the development of tropical systems during the 2022 season.
Just between the years 2019 and 2021, damage to agriculture from storms and inclement weather (including damage to roads) has variously been estimated as equivalent to about one per cent of Jamaica’s GDP.