• The San Juan Daily Star

Mayors, agency heads to meet for hurricane preparedness

By John McPhaul

In order to review the emergency plans of the municipalities before the start of the hurricane season, the New Progressive Party minority leader in the island House of Representatives, Carlos “Johnny” Méndez Nuñez, will hold a meeting today with the mayors of Carolina, Ceiba, Culebra, Fajardo, Gurabo, Humacao, Las Piedras, Loíza, Naguabo, Río Grande and Vieques, among others.

“What we are looking for here is to have complete, effective, transparent and rapid coordination between the municipalities and the central government agencies in the event that an atmospheric phenomenon hits us during the next hurricane season that begins in June,” Méndez Nuñez said. “We are going to discuss, in detail, the needs of each of the municipal emergency offices, coordination plans at the state level, communication with municipalities, mitigation platforms, and availability of state and federal funds to support municipalities in projects focused on preventing and managing emergencies.”

Also to be represented at the meeting will be the Department of Public Safety, Bureau for Emergency Management and Disaster Administration, Public Buildings Authority, Department of Education, Maritime Transportation Authority, Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, Department of Housing, Family Department, Office for the Management of Public Buildings, Department of Natural and Environmental Resources, Department of Health and LUMA Energy, among others.

The conclave is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. at the Club Cívico Social Pedreño in Las Piedras.

Also included on the agenda are issues such as plans to deal with earthquakes and tsunamis at the municipal level and the programs established to guarantee the operation of hospitals, and support for the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra, which includes the replacement of communication equipment, emergency awnings and essential items.

“Direct communication between agencies and municipalities is important in case of emergency,” Méndez Núñez said. “One area that we need to discuss is the issue of shelters in the face of the reality of the January 2021 earthquakes, particularly the schools that were used as shelters. We must know everything, including the issue of cisterns in schools, as well as the maintenance of emergency generators.”

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