Early hazard system coming on stream soon

The National Office of Disaster Service (NODS) could soon complete the installation of the hazard early warning system that it has been talking about for over a year now.

The equipment, costing the government a whopping US $20 million, is currently being installed.

The Director of NODS, Philmore Mullin, said that the hazard system will help NODS inform residents, especially those living in vulnerable areas, about an impending disaster.

“We are at the point of installation, we had a discussion last week with the IT unit and so they are going to be assigning someone to work along with the providers to get that process up and going in the shortest possible time; and so very soon we won’t have to be sending emails to 10 or 15 media houses, but instead press one button,” he said.

The hazard early warning system will help authorities here detect early signs of flooding, tsunamis and other natural disasters that can affect Antigua and Barbuda.

The early warning system will also involve the establishment of a multi-hazard information centre for forecasting.

That information will be gathered from multiple ground and satellite sources and will provide cutting-edge data on upcoming extreme weather events and their potential impact on the island.

Mullin said the system would have a two-trigger mechanism – one stationed at the Antigua Meteorological Office at the airport and the other at NODS headquarters on American Road.

Staff at both departments are being trained in how to operate the system, and the public will be educated on the expectations once the system is brought onstream.