Housing reconstruction committee members Wim de Jong, Ingrid Whitfield and Alida Francis, contractor Calvin Merkman, Esmond Hook, Edris Bennet-Merkman, Austin van Heynigen and Project Manager Mel Raboen de Sanchez Pacheco.
ST. EUSTATIUS–St. Eustatius government urges residents to plan ahead for the 2018 hurricane season that starts June 1.
Last year’s hurricane season ripped off several roofs and damaged houses on the island. Some houses are still under repair.
The Dutch government is financing a housing reconstruction programme to fix the damaged houses as fast as humanly possible. The programme is almost over halfway with an anticipated completion date of September.
Mercedes Lopes-Spanner of the Disaster Preparedness Committee said the committee is disseminating information to the public to ensure residents and businesses prepare for the hurricane season.
Knowing the difference between a hurricane watch and warning is one item the committee is spreading knowledge about. A Hurricane watch means hurricane conditions are possible in the specified area usually within 36 hours, while a hurricane warning means those conditions are expected in the specified area usually within 24 hours.
Residents should prepare a personal evacuation plan in which they should identify ahead of time where to go if they are told to evacuate, Lopes-Spanner said. Choose places such as a friend’s home or a hurricane shelter and also keep phone numbers of those places handy to use if an alternative or unfamiliar route has to be taken.
“Listen to your local radio for evacuations info, if advised, to evacuate do so immediately,” she said.
Assembling a disaster supplies kit, Lopes-Spanner said, is also must. The kit should include canned food, a can opener, a first aid kit, essential medications, a battery-powered radio, flashlight and extra batteries, at least three gallons of water per person per day for drinking and sanitation, protective clothing, rainwear, bedding or sleeping bag and, if relevant, items for infants, the elderly or disabled family members.
Protection of personal property can be done by installing hurricane shutters or purchasing outdoor plywood boards for each window, she said. Install anchors for the plywood and pre-drill holes for easy boarding up.
Trees can be made more wind resistant by removal of diseased or damaged limbs then strategically removing branches for wind to pass through.