On Saturday, the Haitian government said Haiti, it was preparing for a fluctuating Hurricane Irma that remains a powerful storm as it approaches the Lesser Antilles this weekend. This is of great concern to Haitians as that country is still recovering from the battering it took from the passage of Hurricane Matthew last year.
Anticipating and keeping ready
“The trajectory of Hurricane Irma is not precise enough to allow us to confirm today whether the system will pose a direct threat or not to Haiti in the coming days. However, we prefer to anticipate and keep ready our teams and our preparedness and response infrastructures across the country,” said Jerry Chandler, the director of the Directorate of Civil Protection (DPC) at Haiti’s National Emergency Operations Center (COUN).
Mobilizing various agencies
The DPC said it was mobilizing its various agencies throughout the country. It urged Haitians “including those in areas at high risk of flooding and land movement, to continue to prepare, while the Civil Protection structures make necessary arrangements to inform them of the evolution of Irma”.
More than 400 people died when Matthew, packing winds of 145 miles per hour (mph) smashed concrete walls, flattened palm trees and tore roofs off homes last October.
The Miami-based National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Saturday that Hurricane Irma was located about 1,320 miles east of the Leeward Islands with winds of 110 mph, moved forward at 14 mph.
Northern Leeward Islands cautioned
The NHC said while there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect, interests in the northern Leeward Islands should monitor the progress of this system that is moving towards the west and should move west-southwest during the next couple of days.
“Fluctuations in strength, up or down, are possible during the next couple of days, but Irma is expected to remain a powerful hurricane into early next week,” the NHC warned.