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Call for better hurricane readiness

John Sealy

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BARBADIANS must snap out of their complacency and learn from past hurricanes that brought devastation to the island, says Kieran Kelly, managing director of Tradewinds International Brokers.
Tradewinds, an insurance brokerage on the West Coast, has received numerous claims from the recent floods, which could amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Kelly told the WEEKEND NATION that there was no benefit in looking at ourselves after the damage.
“I think there is definitely a degree of complacency.”
He supported his observation with research he did on hurricanes that touched Barbados over the last couple hundred years and the number of people killed, describing the loss of life “as astonishing and outrageous”.
He said Barbados was devastated in 1780 (October 10 and 11) by “The Great Hurricane”, packing winds of 320 km/h and killing 4 326.
Then in 1831, Kelly said another Great Hurricane killed 1 500 Barbadians.
“If we as a nation and people fail to prepare, we must be prepared to fail; and that is a very scary thought indeed.
“One of the biggest problems related to most disaster situations which deserve more attention is the difficulty of convincing people that a dangerous situation actually exists and that they should take action to protect themselves.”
Kelly also said he was aware that as an island “we have focused on hurricane preparedness. However, we simply must have defined and effective preparations in place to swiftly mobilise, implement, sustain and conclude a disaster and recovery plan, which is clearly communicated to the public”.
“I fear that people think they know what they would do. However, if faced with a terrible natural disaster the panic, mayhem and chaos would take over, resulting in utter tragedy.
“This is where proper awareness, planning and preparedness helps save life and property.”