ODPM urges citizens to prepare for passage of Tropical storm Gonzalo

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) is urging the public to remain vigilant and continue their preparations as Tropical Storm Gonzalo nears Trinidad and Tobago.

In a statement on Saturday, the ODPM noted that the system has so far proven to be unpredictable.

It said notwithstanding this unpredictability, based on the MET Service forecast, it appears that Trinidad and Tobago can expect very heavy rainfall.

As such, the ODPM is urging all persons to fully prepare themselves and secure their possessions.

“The entire Trinidad and Tobago is asked to be ready for this passing weather system.”

The Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) has upgraded its Adverse Weather Alert to Orange Level for Trinidad while a Tropical Storm Warning continues to be in effect for Tobago.

Coastal and offshore waters around Tobago and North and East of Trinidad, as well as sheltered areas along Trinidad’s coastline are currently under a Hazardous Seas Alert.

These conditions are expected to commence today and persist until Sunday.

The ODPM said persons should be prepared for heavy rainfall, thunderstorm activity, strong gusty winds and rough seas conditions.

It has also cautioned persons living in low-lying areas, near river banks, or living /working in flood prone or landslip prone areas, to be extra vigilant and to take the necessary precautions to preserve life and property.

“Ensure that you have sandbags in place which are accessible from your nearest Municipal Corporation. Look out for vulnerable persons in your community who would need assistance. Additionally, persons in hilly areas should anticipate landslides and landslips.”

It added that the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) will be activated to coordinate response and relief efforts.

The ODPM said it stands ready to respond along with all relevant national agencies such as the Disaster Management Units of the Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the Ministry of Works and Transport, the various Divisions of the Ministry of National Security, a number of private sector agencies and NGOs.

It added that it is critical that individuals, families and communities put emergency measures in place that could reduce the risk to lives, livelihoods and property. 

Citizens can be prepared for adverse weather by following these precautionary measures: 

Know Your Risk: 

• Reduce potential property damage by elevating appliances/key equipment and applying sandbags to vulnerable points in your home/business (persons may check with hardware outlets/ the Disaster Management Units at Municipal Corporations for sandbags).

• Pay attention to the television, radio and social media for any changes in the weather conditions and updates.

Make a plan

• Write down emergency contact information and any important actions someone  should take.

•  Keep in contact with family and community members.

Take action: 

•   Ensure that you have a household emergency kit ready (water, food, medical supplies, radio, batteries, flashlight etc.) to last 7 days. 

•  Pack a ‘Grab and Go’ bag to last at least 72 hours in the event you and your family need to evacuate.

• In light of COVID-19 guidelines, include extra face masks, gloves and hand sanitisers 

Monitor conditions:

•  Continue to monitor the passage of Tropical Storm Gonzalo and be ready.

• Monitor the ODPM and TTMS websites, and social media profiles,   (www.odpm.gov.tt or www.metoffice.gov.tt) for weather forecasts, alerts, warnings and cancellations.

In case persons are impacted by adverse weather, observe below, the relevant hotlines for the Municipal Corporations’ Disaster Management Units and the Tobago Emergency Management
Agency (TEMA).

• Arima Borough Corporation 800-2ABC (2222)

• Chaguanas Borough Corporation 800-DCBC (3222)

• Couva/Tabaquite/Talparo Regional Corporation 800-CTTC (2882)

• Diego Martin Regional Corporation 800-DMRC (3672)

• Mayaro/Rio Claro Regional Corporation 800-4MRC (4672)

• Penal/Debe Regional Corporation 800-PDRC (7372)

• Point Fortin Borough Corporation 800-PFCB (7322)

• Port-of-Spain City Corporation 800-PSCC (7722)

• Princes Town Regional Corporation 800-PTRC (7872)

• San Fernando City Corporation 800-SCDU (7238)

• Sangre Grande Regional Corporation 800-SGRC (7472)

• San Juan/Laventille Regional Corporation 800-SLRC (7572)

• Siparia Regional Corporation 800-4SRC (4772)

• Tunapuna/Piarco Regional Corporation 800-TPRC (8772)

• Tobago Emergency Management Agency 211

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