End of Hurricane Season 2017
This day, 30th of November 2017, marks the close of the Atlantic hurricane season. Historic, traumatic and costly are some words which could be used to describe this 2017 hurricane season. Many of us here in Anguilla, are relieved that the season has ended but we must remain vigilant as we continue to overcome the challenges left in the wake of the storms and build resilience for any future events. We can find solace in the scripture from the book of Isaiah chapter 4 verse 6 which says, "there will be shelter…refuge and protection from the storm."
It has been an active season which has not only left devastation here at home but also in a number of Caribbean islands and the United States. This season saw 17 of its named storms of the predicted 14 - 19, 10 of which were hurricanes. Irma and Maria were the only two category 5 hurricanes of this season and caused tremendous damage in Anguilla, regrettably resulting in the loss of one life and in the wider region. Anguilla knows the pain of loss, its side effects and the discomforts of recovery and we, more so, can empathise with our friends and family on the impacted islands.
Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused devastation to infrastructure and have repressed our economy but progress is evident and we must believe that our comeback will be greater. These hurricanes, for us, have caused us all to think, not only on the impact and resulting disaster but on our hurricane preparedness. We have to reflect and ask;
" What can we do differently to minimize our hurricane risk?
" Are our practices or way of doing business sustainable?
" How can we improve?
Innovative thinking and actions are arising. Opportunities can be created. Anguilla is known for its strong, purposeful, and resilient people. Post hurricane Irma impact selfless acts of kindness were noticed and we wish to sincerely thank all who had a hand in assisting their friends, relatives and neighbours through this difficult time. The work is far from over and the recovery effort will demand even greater expressions of these admirable traits and self-sacrifice as we strive to move forward.
To all of the persons and organisations worldwide who sent and continue to send relief to the citizens of Anguilla in our time of need we express our deepest gratitude. The irony of the fact that some of our neighbours who sent relief items to Anguilla after Hurricane Irma were themselves impacted by Maria shortly after was not lost on us. The lesson is abundantly clear: It is past time for us to come together as a region and realise that we can only survive in the face of these ever increasing number of "super storms" if we practice vigilance and being our brother's keeper.
We commend all for their preparedness efforts and vigilance this season. We thank you all for your diligence exercised throughout the year and urge that you continue your level of preparedness by developing relevant plans and conducting exercises/scenarios in order to boost response capability.
The Department of Disaster Management encourages people to sign up for the Anguilla Warning System at www.ddmaxa.org to receive timely alerts for pending incidents which can save lives. The Department also urges you to remember the 3 B's - Be Aware, Be Informed and Be Prepared.
For assistance or further information regarding our natural hazards and safety precautions, you may contact us at the Department of Disaster Management on 497 -2926.
On behalf of the National Disaster Management Committee, the Director and staff of the Department of Disaster Management, we would like to wish you all a Merry and blessed Christmas season filled with peace and love, and a hazard free and Happy New Year.