Nature's ravages continue with this hurricane season
Hurricane season kicks off while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. / Photo: Pixabay - Reference Image
LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez
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Leer en español: Temporada de huracanes en época de pandemia
The usual hurricane season that hits the Caribbean every year around this time, now poses an increased threat as governments seek new protocols that will not trigger coronavirus infections.
Since the end of May, the Atlantic hurricane season began, but this time it came hitting harder than normal. First came the tropical storm Cristóbal, which hit the Caribbean coast of Mexico, affecting some states. The storm quickly headed north, which meant that some states in the United States had to start preparing.
In addition to the active hurricane season, some regions had a strong rainy season from which they have not yet fully recovered, and even more so, the latent Coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has forced governments to create new plans that take into account measures to prevent coronavirus outbreaks while protecting themselves from the following season.
This year, the forecast for the United States National Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Management (NOAA) is between three and six hurricane storms and between 13 and 19 storms in the season that runs from June 1 to November 30. "The average season has 12 named storms and three major hurricanes," Diario Las Américas said.
A summary infographic showing hurricane season probability and numbers of named storms predicted from NOAA's 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season Outlook. Read more: https://t.co/SlHILMPZGL pic.twitter.com/PZ8qQYllUE— CDEMA (@cdemacu) June 6, 2020
The Caribbean islands are the hardest hit at this time of year and some, like the Bahamas, still have not fully recovered from last year. Hurricane Dorian struck in September 2019 and demolition and reconstruction work was underway when the pandemic broke out. This has left some of the governments without resources that will be affected in these months by possible hurricanes and heavy rains.
One of the biggest impacts on these islands is the lack of economic solvency, which makes it difficult to prepare for hurricanes and tropical storms. Many of them live mostly from tourism, which has been paused by COVID-19, which is why funds, both public and private, have been running out. Likewise, confinement to prevent the spread of the virus has delayed preparations. According to Diario Las Américas, one of the things most affected is the identification of shelters that will be needed in the coming months.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) have launched protective measures to take into account before and after the hurricane, and which are also based on care for the coronavirus. They assured that "this season could be especially stressful", which is why they warned to prepare with more time so that nothing is going to be missing in case of an emergency.
Among the recommendations prior to the hurricane is to stock up on medicines, water and food, but avoid going out to shop and trying to do it at home; check the nearest shelters; verify that family, friends and neighbors are doing well but without breaking the social gap; have items such as face masks and gloves to avoid infections in case you have to go to a shelter; among other measures.
Likewise, PAHO warned of the "seasonal threats" that may lead to the worsening of the pandemic. Although the WHO has not yet been able to confirm whether the virus will have serious repercussions in the winter , PAHO reported that the winter season also increases the flu, so special care must be taken as this will also be a factor that will affect the Hurricane season.
The organization's director, Carissa Etienne, stated that the region "will be affected by the arrival of winter, while the hurricane season will complicate our efforts in North and Central America, and especially in the Caribbean." Etienne called for joint efforts to continue ensuring distancing in shelters once emergencies begin in the Caribbean islands and in other parts of the region that will be affected.
Temporada de huracanes:— OPS/OMS (@opsoms) June 10, 2020
“Estamos trabajando para proporcionar suministros para dar respuesta a emergencias en y para asegurar que laboratorios y centros de cuarentena y aislamiento continúen funcionando para que el tratamiento de la COVID-19 siga adelante”. @DirOPSPAHO pic.twitter.com/352bZnQ3vn