Antigua and Barbuda: The National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) of Antigua and Barbuda, led by its new Director, made a detailed report on the readiness of each community as a result of the commencement of the hurricane season.
Relying upon the World Meteorological Organization and the National Met Office, the conclusion was reached that the 2022 hurricane season will be very busy.
Consequently, NODS reported on the readiness of each community in the event of heavy rainfall and strong winds. Working with several partners, NODS has negotiated for cyclone insurance and the provision of emergency kits.
While storage at NODS Headquarters is adequate, an attempt to pre-position kits at several shelters has not worked well. There are 64 shelters, including a church in Codrington, Barbuda.
Several churches that are intended to be used for shelters have bathrooms separated from the sanctuaries; it makes them less safe because the use of the shelters’ restrooms would make it unsafe if one has to journey outside during a storm.
The NODS also reported that illegal dumping of rubbish is still ongoing, clogging waterways, drains and ponds. A comprehensive report on each of the districts’ drains and bridges that have been examined will be reported to Cabinet.
Asked about their readiness to respond quickly, the NODS Director responded that the NODS is in a position to adequately respond to any disaster which may now occur.
Further, the Cabinet of Antigua and Barbuda also reviewed the amounts spent on improving accessibility to tertiary educational institutions since the 2014 elections and determined that more than $50 million dollars have been spent, beyond the amounts budgeted. $17 million dollars were spent on bringing The UWI to Five Islands, and the Prime Minister Scholarship distributes $21 million dollars annually.
Other amounts have been spent by the Board of Education on the expansion and upgrades of the Antigua State College and the ABHTI plants as well as the provision of text books, scholarships and school equipment. A college graduate in every home is the object.