As Hurricane Isaac heads to the island, Deputy Prime Minister, Reginald Austrie has called on Dominicans not to panic and decision relating to the storm may be taken tomorrow when the National Emergency Planning Organization (NEPO) meets and necessary instructions will be issued.
He said on Monday that some of the decisions may include suspension of school and shortening of working hours.
“As we continue to assess the situation a decision may be taken tomorrow when NEPO [National Emergency Planning Organization] meets at 9:00 am and all the necessary instructions will be issues then that may include the suspension of school and the shortening of working hours,” he revealed. This will be communicated to you by the local media from the Disaster Preparedness Office.”
He said Dominicans should not panic and should be making preparation for the arrival of the hurricane.
Austrie said when information is given, everyone should remain indoors.
“I am calling on all residents to remain indoors as much as possible and anyone found uselessly loitering the streets will be dealt with accordingly,” he stated. “Be aware that your personal safety, security, and well-being is paramount.”
Austrie went on to say that due to Hurricane Maria last year the country does not have the full complement of shelters, however available emergency shelters around the country may be opened by Wednesday.
He urged all Dominicans to please respect the emergency shelters “particularly this time when we will be using private homes and some public buildings.”
“The use of these buildings will determine how quickly we can return to normalcy following any storm,” he stated.
Austrie stated further that in areas where there are not sufficient shelters, residents are being asked in the neighbouring communities to please support and assist their neighbor.
“Please stock up on food and water for at least three days and all other items which the National Disaster Office have been advising you to have on hand,” he advised.
He called on business owners to secure all buildings in the City of Roseau and elsewhere around Dominica.
Meantime; Minister for the Environment, Climate Resilience, Disaster Management and Urban Renewal, Joseph Isaac said the various organs of NEPO have been meeting to plan and guide the decision makers in preparation for the arrival of the Hurricane.
He stated Dominicans are being advised to continue to remain vigilant and to monitor the progress of Hurricane Isaac.
“Remember the onus is on all of us to prepare for adverse events,” he said. “I have been advised that the possible hazards associated with this weather maybe winds gusting to Hurricane force resulting in flying debris and falling trees…”
He also advised residents in vulnerable areas and building structures to seek safe shelters.
“Bring along necessities such as water, dry foods and other items to reduce the burden on the system,” he noted.
Isaac went on to say that weather monitoring and reporting is the responsibility of trained professionals only.
“The official and legal body that is responsible for providing up-to-date information on tropical cyclones like Isaac is the meteorological office,” he remarked. “I am therefore calling on those who are involved in the transmission of weather information that is not officially from the Met Office, either on radio or on social media to desist from this practice and allow the authorities who are designated to provide the information to do so.”
At 11:00 am, Hurricane Isaac, was located near latitude 14.7 degrees north and longitude 43.9 degrees west or about 1,150 miles east of the Windward Islands.
Additional strengthening is forecast during the next day or two and Isaac is expected to weaken by the middle of the week on approaching the islands.
On the forecast track, the system is expected to pass over or near to Dominica late Wednesday into Thursday. However, activity associated with the system should begin affecting Dominica by early Wednesday.