Jamaica Red Cross prepares for hurricane Ivan

Published: 13 September 2004 0:00 CET

Marko Kokic

The Jamaica Red Cross estimates that tens of thousands of people are threatened by Hurricane Ivan. Voluntary evacuations have begun in all high risk areas. In coordination with the government’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management the Jamaica Red Cross is charged with managing all 1,000 community shelters opened across the island.

All the Red Cross branches, 12,000 volunteers and Red Cross community Disaster Response Teams (CDRTs) have been placed on alert. The CDRTs, trained in light search and rescue, emergency first aid and rapid assessment, have also begun been working in high risk communities making residents aware of the threat Hurricane Ivan poses and encouraging them to seek safety at designated community shelters.

The Jamaica Red Cross estimates that there are sufficient food stocks on the island for 4-5 days. It has purchased food locally (rice, cooking oil, powdered milk, canned sardines and dried soup mix) and has pre-deployed it in the north of the country.

Jamaica is bracing itself as Hurricane Ivan moves towards the island where a hurricane warning remains in effect, reports the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Ivan is moving toward the west-northwest at 20 km/hr and is expected to hit Jamaica today, Friday September 10.

Winds are reaching 240 km/hr making Ivan a category 4 hurricane which could become category 5 as it approaches Jamaica. Storm surge flooding of 1 to 1.5 meters above normal tidal levels is expected. Rainfall could reach between 15 to 25 centimeters possibly causing deadly flash floods and mudslides.