Every school child ought to know the ditty:
“June too soon,
August, come it must,
September remember -
October, all over!”
This used to be taught in the schools and every pupil had to learn it, regardless of whether what was being taught was understood.
For many people, the whole exercise made no sense, because between the years 1928 and 1950, no hurricane bothered to hit Antigua & Barbuda. Then in 1950, two hurricanes hit us in quick succession. One was named Cat and the other named Dog. In those days, the culture of naming hurricanes had not been firmly established.
However, we have been unable to establish a causal relationship why there was a hiatus between 1928 and 1950 – a period of 22 years. Subsequent to 1950, we have had a spate of hurricanes that have adversely affected us, the most adverse being Hurricane Luis.
Because of improved methods of tracking storms and because of improved methods of communication, we have been able to plot and follow the course of storms on television as they have bombarded Central America from both the Pacific and the Atlantic oceans. In spite of improved methods of communication and of viewing, the question that poses itself to us is, how prepared are we to meet the upcoming season?
Every one in the media business will remember when Christopher O’Marde, as ALP minister in charge of publishing the locations of safe houses that could be used as shelters during the passage of a hurricane, issued the name of the Moravian school as a location to which residents could go for shelter.
The irony and embarrassment of issuing such a name, was that the Moravian school had been razed to the ground for many years and had not been replaced. Such predicaments do occur. We can also recall when Ottos Comprehensive School had been used as a shelter.
The overcrowded conditions led to incidents of rape and to a person or group of persons, sacrificing an animal in a classroom, where the excessive use of blood subsequently became a recurrent problem until the residents had to be expelled and the place purified. Anyway that is water under the bridge. Are we mentally and physically prepared for the passage of a hurricane?
Are our houses leak-proof with regard to our roofs, windows and the sides? Where is your house located? Is the area prone to flooding? Remember the problem of the arrival of excessive water in Pigotts Village where many houses were completely covered a few years ago?
Be prepared. The storing of flashlights with batteries, canned foods, biscuits, other commodities and dried food stuff are very relevant, especially if the hurricane is of a violent nature and if the aftermath presents problems that are somewhat more than ordinary. Be prepared. Do you have a transistor radio with new batteries? Be prepared.