SEVENTEEN of Tobago's 33 shelters have been opened, THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine said.
Augustine was addressing the media on Tuesday evening on the current adverse weather system approaching the country. Also with him at the virtual press conference was Director of the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) Allan Stewart. The conference was held at the Tobago Emergency Operations Centre in Bacolet.
“There are 33 shelters in total, only 17 are open at the moment but all 33 are positioned to be opened during the course of this event. So, if the shelter closest to you isn’t opened as yet, it does not mean that one will not be opened during the event or if and when the need arises,” Augustine said.
Stewart said while the need for these facilities to be opened has been recognised, such action would be predicated on the availability of management teams within communities.
“Also, based on the threat level at the moment, we understand there is no need to activate all 33 shelters," Stewart said adding that the necessary resources are in place to ensure all of the shelters on the island can be opened if and when there is such a need.
He said that in the first instance, the shelters would be used as evacuation centres.
The Tobago Emergency Operations Centre was activated at 6 pm. All planning and monitoring of emergency support and emergency responses will be done at this centre in Bacolet.
Reporting on incidents thus far, Stewart said: “earlier on this evening, I received information that a tree fell on a residential structure – I will omit the name at this stage. Yes, the relevant authorities and protocols are in place where we would do what you would call damage assessment. We would be responding to those reports and at daybreak (on Wednesday) we would be able to do further damage assessments and needs-analysis to determine exactly how these people who are in need of help can be returned to a level of normalcy.”
On work within the Assembly, Chief Secretary Augustine said only essential workers and supervisors are to report to work on Wednesday. All schools on the island will remain closed on Wednesday.