By the end of this week, officials from the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) are expected to complete the documentation for the last piece of equipment needed for a flood and hazard early warning system to help authorities detect early signs of flooding, tsunamis and other disasters.
Philmore Mullin, director of NODS said that this final step will clear the way for the full equipment to be ordered and once this is done, his department will proceed with the installation phase.
“The system will provide information so that the public can be aware and keep track of certain things. The second phase will be to install sirens so that persons living in specific areas will be able to receive warnings on a regular basis, especially when there is a need to evacuate,” Mullin said.
The early warning system will also involve the establishment of a multi-hazard information centre for natural disasters forecasting and early warning that combines information derived from multiple ground and satellite sources, and provides concrete information on upcoming extreme weather events and their potential impact on the island. Last year, Mullin informed our newsroom that the system would cost somewhere in the region of US $150, 000 to $20,000.
The system will have two trigger mechanisms – one stationed at the Antigua Meteorology Office and the other at NODS headquarters. Staff members at both departments will be trained in how to operate the system effectively.
The cost for training and a storage facility, among other things needed once the system is in place, will take up the total cost to US $45,000 Mullin said last night.
A similar system was introduced in the Caribbean island of St. Lucia in 2016.