Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds. (FP)

After a day of heavy rains, with projections for additional rainfall later this week, and amid forecasts for an “extremely active” hurricane season, Director of the Department of Emergency Management (DEM), Kerry Hinds, is urging Barbadians to be prepared.

Ms Hinds said that now was not the time to become complacent, and urged residents to ensure that they took the necessary precautions.

The Barbados Meteorological Services (MET Office) issued a flash-flood warning yesterday as the leading edge of a tropical wave, in combination with the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone, affected the island, resulting in the accumulation of approximately two inches of rainfall in some areas.

But, even as the island continues to be affected by one tropical wave, the MET Office is continuing to monitor the progress of another system, which is expected to impact the island later this week.

With these factors in mind, Ms. Hinds cautioned that with already saturated conditions, it was imperative that residents, particularly those living in flood prone areas, exercise caution by paying attention to potential flooding situations.

“We encourage persons not to wait until they become trapped in their homes to call for help.  Where possible, have a plan to move to safety with a friend or a neighbour until rising flood waters recede,” she advised.

The Director also urged residents to use this opportunity to ensure that the wells and drains around their homes were cleared of debris to allow flood waters to easily recede.

“Remember, disaster management is everybody’s business.  We all must play our part in building resilience of our communities, and by extension our nation,” Ms. Hinds stressed.

She encouraged persons to contact the DEM to report any instances of damage to their homes or property, so that the relevant agencies could be mobilised to render assistance.  She also noted that they may also contact the District Emergency Organisation responsible for their area.

“Now is the time to know the contact details for your DEO. They are the first responders in your neighbourhoods, and are likely to be the closest source of assistance should something occur,” the Director said. However, she stressed that being prepared was key, not just for the hurricane season, but for all types of hazards.

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