Friday, December 15, 2017
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Old Road Bay a priority, NEMA official praises teamwork



ORBD-1Basseterre, St. Kitts, 21st September, 2017 ( - One of the key areas of focus post Hurricane Maria is to rectify the damage done to the roadway at Old Road Bay.


Hurricane force waves crashed onto the roadway causing significant damage. As a consequence, persons living west of Old Road Bay must take the long route around the northeastern coast torch to Basseterre.


Speaking on Thursday morning with, Deputy Disaster Coordinator Clericia Langley-Stevens said, “The intention, based on meetings, suggests that Public Works is going to exert all effort to clean up the road, and properly assess how speedily we can get that road back into condition where it can be used.”


Langley said the road is undermined in some areas, broken and cracked in other parts, and there are rocks falling. At that point, she indicated that the assessment must be done first “to avoid making a bad situation worse”.


According to information coming out of Public Works, the intention is to have the road operational by Friday morning. Expedition work will enable the road to be ready in 48 hours, said one civil engineer.


In other areas, Langley said clean-up continues on the Bay Road in Basseterre and in Frigate Bay, including the area popularly called The Strip.


“We also have NEMA volunteers out in the community doing damage assessments of residential properties,” Langley indicated.


Commenting on how well the NEMA team and volunteers carried out their duties in both Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Langley was very pleased.


“Excellent. They were excellent!” Langley stated emphatically.


She explained, “What a lot of people need to understand is that when we are not being affected by a disaster, or natural hazard, we are busy training persons to be able to respond to emergency situations, and we do that with a wide cross-section of training.”


The training includes, but is not limited to the following: Basic First Aid / CPR; Damage and Needs Assessments; Emergency Operations; Shelter Management; Search and Rescue.


Considering the impact of category 5 hurricanes in the Leewards this hurricane season, Langley said a region-wide dialogue has already started, led by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA).


She said, “CDEMA is looking at areas where we can improve, how we can better help each other, especially in the areas of search and rescue, GIS Mapping, as well as damage assessment. CDEMA has already reached out to us on St. Kitts. So, the discussion has started.”


Langley recorded her gratitude and appreciation, not only to the staff at NEMA, but to the national volunteers and stakeholders.


“I believe our teamwork becomes more obvious when we are able to respond efficiently and effectively to address the concerns of people during the times when they are most vulnerable. We record that appreciation, because NEMA cannot do it alone.”

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