Press conference with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and officials from the Department of Emergency Management. (PMO)

As the island prepares for the passage of Tropical Storm Elsa, Barbadians are being urged to be prepared.

Minister of Home Affairs, Information and Public Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, made the plea, during a press conference and update on Tropical Storm Elsa at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre earlier this afternoon.

In light of the recent “freak storm”, Minister Abrahams noted the “fragility” of properties on the island.  “We are expecting sustained storm force winds, sustained winds in excess of the winds that we would have had a week and a half ago, so people need to look around their houses; make themselves as prepared as they can be; pick up all the loose objects that can become missiles; clear the drains.  If you have a well on your property clear the waterways, and just make yourself as prepared as you can be,” he pleaded.

He also encouraged persons to seek shelter at any of the islands listed shelters as early as possible. “Please be honest with yourselves. If you’re not comfortable or you have misgivings about staying home or staying in place in this system, we ask you please to move early…. I’m urging you please to go early, it becomes difficult if not impossible to assist you once storm conditions are actually affecting the country.”

The Home Affairs Minister also called on persons to clear their properties of any items that may become missiles.  “You are responsible at the end for your own safety; just look around your house; look around your surroundings and secure everything that needs to be secured…. If your garbage has not been picked up by a certain time, please just bring it inside, and also secure your garbage bins. We are very concerned. We’re concerned about the rain; we’re concerned about the water impact, but we’re equally as concerned about the wind and things becoming missiles,” he said.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley also reinforced Minister Abrahams’ call for cleaning up properties and clearing away loose items. 

“I found that in every major storm we still have to remind people, anything that can fly and be lifted up by 30, 40, 50 miles of wind is a missile, and a missile is capable of killing and injuring people and to that extent, therefore, we have a couple of hours left. I want to urge people in communities to help one another.  I want to urge people to go and look around your house and look for anything that can literally cause that kind of damage,” Ms. Mottley said.

The public was also advised to follow official channels for updates on Tropical Storm Elsa and not to rely on information shared by unknown sources via social media platforms.

“Please monitor the official government information sources, which include the Government Information Service, the Public Affairs Department, CBC and our official and reliable media partners. We will be updating you at least every hour on the progress of the system through the official sources. You have no reason to look anywhere else or forward things that you’re not certain as to the origin,” Minister Abrahams advised.

For a list of shelters, please visit click here. To reach the Department of Emergency Management, persons may telephone 438-7575.

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