Tobago on Gonzalo watch

File photo of a sunny day at Store Bay beach, Tobago - JEFF K MAYERS
File photo of a sunny day at Store Bay beach, Tobago - JEFF K MAYERS

As Tobago braces for the possible effects of Tropical Storm Gonzalo on Saturday, the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) said ten shelters have been established to assist people who may be affected by bad weather.

In a statement on Friday, TEMA said shelters have been activated at the Charlotteville relief centre; Speyside High School; and the Belle Garden, Betsy’s Hope and Canaan multi-purpose facilities.

Shelters have also been established at community centres in L’Anse Fourmi; Castara; Golden Lane; Glen Road; and Black Rock.

TEMA said the shelters will be open from 6.30am on Saturday or earlier if warranted.

A TEMA official told Newsday the shelters are mainly in north-east Tobago.

“We have identified 22 shelters in total. However, we are looking most likely at shelters in the north-east area. So those are approximately ten.”

The official said the shelters will be managed under strict covid19 regulations as issued by the Ministry of Health.

She said shelter managers went through a rigorous training exercise about three weeks ago.

“With respect to shelters, it would not be the same status quo we have been going with before. It will be in adherence with what the Ministry of Health as well as PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation) and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) would have been releasing.”

She said the number of people a shelter can to accommodate, in light of the pandemic, will vary depending on the size of the facility. The Meteorological Office said on Thursday, Tobago has been placed under a tropical storm watch. As such, it said tropical storm conditions are likely to prevail, including heavy to intense showers and/or thunderstorms, street/flash flooding and gusty winds in excess of 85km/hr.

The agency advised people living in low-lying, flood-prone areas, near river banks and in areas prone to landslips to be extremely vigilant and secure their properties.

It also advised citizens, tourists and marine interests to be alert and exercise caution when on the beaches or venturing to sea.

“Boat operators are advised to determine the safest place for their vessel to ride out the storm, think about the adequacy of the present mooring or dock, and evaluate what type of equipment is necessary to be onboard.”

TEMA also advised people to pack a “grab and go” bag to last at least 72 hours in the event they need to evacuate.

The agency said people should also assemble a household emergency kit with water, food, medical supplies, radio, batteries and a flashlight, and mobile devices should be fully charged.

It also advised that people store important documents in a waterproof container or electronically.

To reduce the likelihood of property damage, TEMA said people should utilise sandbags and elevate their appliances.

TEMA urged Tobagonians to download the mobile application Virtual Vision 2.0 at the Android Play Store or the Apple IOS App Store.

Meanwhile, the National Petroleum Marketing Co (NP) says it has put measures in place to ensure the country continues to receive a consistent fuel supply.

In a statement, NP said its operations at the Tobago terminal facility are equipped with an adequate supply of liquid fuels and service station deliveries. Dealers are being advised to maximise their storage capacity to mitigate any shortages.

The company said it continues to liaise with public utility companies and industrial customers in Tobago to ensure that their fuel supplies are also maximised, ahead of the advancing weather system.

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"Tobago on Gonzalo watch"

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