The Vincentian community has been called upon to offer up prayers of safety and protection for Vincentian students studying in Jamaica.
These as a number of students have reached out to News784, to inform us of the impending Hurricane that is expected to make landfall early Monday Morning according to forecasters.
Hurricane Matthew weakened slightly on Saturday as it headed toward Jamaica and Cuba, but with winds reaching 155 miles per hour (250 kph) forecasters said the storm was still powerful enough to wreck homes as islanders braced for its arrival.
Matthew, the strongest hurricane in the Atlantic Ocean since Felix in 2007, was forecast to make landfall as a major storm on Monday on Jamaica’s southern coast, home to the country’s capital, Kingston, and its only oil refinery. It could also affect tourist destinations such as Montego Bay in the north.
“The government is on high alert,” said Robert Morgan, director of communications at the prime minister’s office.
” Disaster coordinators, police, and troops are on standby and shelters are being opened across the island, Morgan said.
Local government minister, Desmond McKenzie said the Prime Minister has instructed that the authorities “go full speed ahead” with preparedness and response efforts.
He said relief agencies have been ordered to find all 2,000 street people across the country and place them in shelters.
On September 12, 1998, with winds reaching 175 miles per hour, the Category 5 hurricane Gilbert devastated Jamaica. With a 40-mile-wide eye, the hurricane covered the entire island.
The tin roofs that covered most homes were no match for the winds–about 80 percent of the island’s homes were seriously damaged and approximately 500,000 of the country’s 2 million people were left homeless. Nearly every home on the island lost electricity. Worst of all, more than 200 people lost their lives.