Shelter evacuees relocated to St. Peters Community Centre

~ CPS urges persons to reduce exposure to smoke ~

ST. PETERS–Some of the persons evacuated from the temporary shelters at the St. Maarten Festival Village and the Little League Ballpark have been relocated to the Rupert I. Maynard Youth Community Centre in St. Peters.

A total of 33 persons were relocated from the shelters on Monday due to the smoke emanating from the landfill fires. Some managed to stay with friends or family. The smoke also prompted the evacuation of the residents of Pond Island.
The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour VSA coordinated the evacuation of the persons staying in the temporary shelters. Shelter services such as the preparation of meals and security are in place at the location, it was stated in a press release on Wednesday.
The relocation is temporary to safeguard the residents from health hazards, the release said. They will be relocated when the smoke dissipates from the immediately affected area. Any persons seeking more information can contact VSA Staff Bureau located in the Government Building.
VSA Minister Emil Lee visited the Community Centre on Tuesday, February 7. While there, the Minister viewed the temporary accommodation made for persons staying there. “The Ministry of VSA is working diligently to provide the persons in the shelter with a location that is more suitable for the needs of the people staying there. Their safety and wellbeing is of utmost importance. Many are working tirelessly and I thank all involved for their commitment,” said Lee.
The Minister also took notice of the condition of the playground and the basketball court located next the shelter and initiated efforts to remove the standing water that serves as a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Discussions also included the repair/restoration of the playground, basketball court and added security for the safety of the children who play there.
Collective Prevention Services (CPS) says the magnitude of the health impacts of smoke inhalation depends on the concentration and duration of exposure. Short-term exposure (at high levels) can cause nose, throat and eye irritation and exacerbate pre-existing respiratory and cardiovascular conditions. Children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to the adverse respiratory and cardiovascular effects of exposure, as well as persons with underlying cardiovascular disease (hypertension, diabetes, ischaemic heart disease), respiratory disease and pregnant women. “It is important to take steps to protect you and your family’s health especially if you are pregnant, elderly or have children,” it was stated in the release.
These steps include keeping indoor air clean by closing windows and doors, using fans and/or air conditioners set on re-circulate where possible for air circulation and to guard against the heat, avoid time spent outdoors in the affected area and monitor indoor air quality. Other symptoms of smoke exposure include wheezing, shortness of breath, burning eyes and headache. “Please limit your exposure to smoky air and contact your healthcare provider if you have heart or lung problems. Persons should avoid the affected area until the smoke has cleared,” the release said.

Source: The Daily Herald