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Contact: Ina Joseph

Monday, July 01, 2002 - The National Emergency Management Office NEMO together with the National Emergency Advisory Council NEMAC met in joint session recently to review NEMOs 2002 Hurricane Plan. The meeting was chaired by Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony, who is chairman of both organisations.

According to the Director of NEMO, Dawn French, the Advisory Committee is pleased with the response of the general public, Weve been doing the training with the teachers, a number of them appreciated the information, they didnt understand completely what it involved and there was a fear factor taking place there but I think with the workshops taking place we are addressing that and giving information.

Ms. French explained that although Saint Lucians seem to be more aware of the need to be prepared, there is still room for improvement in the whole approach to disaster and disaster management. I think though, we are still a bit too complacent because we are familiar with the storms and they come around every year and we think that we are blessed and nothing is going to happen. However, I do sense from dealing with the local committees that there is an awareness that hurricanes are not the only problems that we must deal with, but I still think we have a long way to go; people expect a lot from the Emergency Office and we in turn expect a lot from them. Its good to have that pressure for perfection and in collaboration we can do better.

Ms. French also urged St. Lucians to be more cautious during this years hurricane season and to take weather warnings seriously. Id like them to continue to monitor the weather information and if a bulletin is given by the MET office for flood prone areas, to please take it seriously and move out. People moving into new neighbourhoods should take note of if it is a flood plane and if a notice comes out, they know that they should be moving. There is also a weather hotline that if anybody misses the weather report that morning, they dont have to wait until the next bulletin. It is 454 3452. Its available in voicemail and fax.


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