Last update: 13-Dec-2013 3:20 am
Friday, December 13, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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ODPM must be ready at all times
All disasters are critical, and some can become catastrophes. In order to avoid the latter, there must be a proper emergency management plan in place, and good advisory from the weather bureau.
Recently there was flooding all over T&T and not one word came from the weather bureau advising the residents of a flood watch, or a flood warning. This is hurricane season and at times certain areas will experience heavy rainfall, so the weather bureau and ODPM must be aware of these situations and monitor those areas in event of serious flooding.
On August 11, 2012 there was serious flooding in Diego Martin. Some residents are still reeling from that flooding, and now come September 13, another flooding has hit the Diego Martin again.
This one may be even worse, after assessing the damage. For over one year the office of the ODPM and the Diego Martin Regional Corporation continue to blame the residents of the affected areas for dumping garbage and other items that block the drains. That may or may not be, but if they knew about that situation for over one year, why has that problem not been corrected? Do not put the flooding on the residents. On the other hand, residents of the area must be flood smart and discontinue building homes close to the river.
In any disaster there will be some confusion because people tend to panic. However, if good and regular advice is coming from the weather bureau to the ODPM, then there should be no panic. With regular weather updates, the ODPM will be able to specify the procedures that ensure the safety of residents and personnel in event of a flood in the area.
At that time the office of ODPM will advise his Operation Resilience Response Team, if there is any such team, that there was a flood watch issued by the weather bureau, and then another update will be a flood warning. At that time the response team should be on a footing ready to assist the residence in the area.
The ODPM, will then instruct other staff to advise the residents that there is a flood warning in the area, and must follow the emergency management plan that is in place for their safety. They would then contact all caregivers in the area to have them follow the emergency management plan for evacuation.
Did the weather bureau notify the office of the ODPM that there were any flood watch or warning in the affected areas? I will like to know because what I saw on the TV was just antics by some members of Parliament.
The office of the ODPM must provide adequate protection and care for every citizen and for property in T&T. It is a responsibility inherent upon that agency. Proper discharge of this responsibility is possible only if the ODPM has a realistic plan for meeting the demands of protections and care in disasters, or emergencies and if the personnel involved in executing them are thoroughly trained on all aspects of emergency management planning.
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