Lutchmedial confident Jamaica is prepared for Beryl

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Retired Civil Aviation Authority director general Ramesh Lutchmedial – File photo

Retired director general of the Civil Aviation Authority Ramesh Lutchmedial said he was confident Jamaica is well prepared for Hurricane Beryl, expected to make landfall in the south of the island on the morning of July 3.

He said most islands and countries in the hurricane zone use a hurricane preparedness plan to help them prepare for any disaster, and Jamaica is no different.

“I know Jamaicans and they would have been very prepared for this,” he told Newsday in a phone conversation.

Beryl is now a category four hurricane, spinning west across the Caribbean. NBC News said it had already claimed six lives. The wind speeds of the hurricane have been tracked at 165 mph (265.5 km/h), making it one of the strongest July hurricanes in history. Forecasters warned it could remain at least a tropical storm as it moves toward Mexico.

On July 2 Newsday was able to confirm at least four deaths, with Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell saying at least three people had been killed and “possibly more,” and St Vincent and Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves saying one person died on the Grenadine island of Bequia on July 1.

Lutchmedial, who is also a Newsday columnist, said communications were down in the affected islands, so the full extent of damage there is not yet known, but common problems for airports would include flooding. He added that they follow pre-set measures to brace for hurricanes.

“All airports in the hurricane zone, they have something called the hurricane preparedness manual, and because you have advance warning, you will put all the necessary measures in place to make sure the place is secured, you have standby generators, and so on.”