“Your Partner in the Struggle For Justice”
John J Ciafone gives out food, masks
and gloves during the pandemic.
Caribbean L 14 ife, June 5-11, 2020
An old military truck used during fl ooding sits parked at the Carlos Escobar
Lopez vocational school which will be used as a shelter during this year’s
hurricane season in Loiza, Puerto Rico, Thursday, May 28, 2020. Caribbean
islands have rarely been so vulnerable as an unusually active hurricane
season threatens a region still recovering from recent storms as it fi ghts a
worsening drought and a pandemic that has drained budgets and muddled
preparations. Associated Press / Carlos Giusti
Battered Caribbean prepares
for hurricanes amid pandemic
By Danica Coto
SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Hurricanes.
Caribbean islands have rarely been
so vulnerable as an unusually active
hurricane season threatens a region
still recovering from recent storms as
it fights a worsening drought and a
pandemic that has drained budgets and
“It is crazy,” said Iram Lewis, Bahamian
minister for Disaster Preparedness,
Management and Reconstruction.
“No one could have imagined this.”
An estimated three to six major hurricanes
could form this year as part of
a total of 13 to 19 named storms that
are forecast for the June 1 to Nov. 30
season, according to the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration.
An average season generates 12 named
storms with three major hurricanes.
The dire forecast comes at a particularly
trying time for the Caribbean.
Thousands of people overall lost their
homes in southern Puerto Rico because
of recent strong earthquakes and in the
northern Bahamas because of Hurricane
Dorian, which hit September 2019
as a Category 5 storm, killing an estimated
70 people and leaving hundreds
missing. Demolition on both islands
hadn’t even started in some areas
when the pandemic hit and lockdowns
ensued, causing billions of dollars in
economic losses in one of the world’s
most tourism-dependent regions.
As a result, governments are struggling
more than ever to prepare for
a season that started early: Tropical
Storm Arthur formed in mid-May
and dropped rain on Dorian-battered
islands in the Bahamas before heading
out to sea.
The response to COVID-19 has dried
up government funds and lockdowns
have delayed hurricane preparations,
especially the identification of sufficient
shelters given the pandemic.
“It’s a very complex landscape this
year,” said Elizabeth Riley, acting executive
director for the Caribbean Disaster
Emergency Management Agency.
In the Bahamas, the government will
place families in classrooms instead of
preparing large gymnasiums like they
did with Hurricane Dorian, Lewis said.
But that’s not an option for some mayors
in Puerto Rico, where dozens of
schools in the island’s southern region
were permanently shuttered after a
6.4-magnitude quake and heavy aftershocks,
with more than 70 families still
staying in hotels as the search for housing
“We definitely have additional challenges
with all these simultaneous
emergencies,” said William Rodriguez,
Puerto Rico’s public housing administrator.
The shuttering of schools means less
shelters at a time when more space is
needed to avoid a possible second wave
of coronavirus cases.
Santos Seda, mayor of the southern
coastal town of Guanica, said the quakes
damaged or destroyed six schools, leaving
only one operational for a shelter
if needed. In addition, more than 400
structures still have to be demolished,
something that worries him greatly.
“If a hurricane comes, there’s no
doubt they can turn into projectiles,”
First Responder EMT and Attorney
Elmhurst Hospital During Pandemic
Award Winning and Practicing Trial Attorney serving
the residents of Queens County for over 25 years.
Adminstrative Law Judge Hearing Officer
Small Claims Arbitrator /EMT/EMS
Independent, Fair And
Committed to providing Justice For All!
Committed to serving everyone with Equality,
Fairness and Respect that is deserved.
Providing the Change and Justice
For ALL The People of Queens
John J Ciafone Administrative Law
JohnJCiafone@yahoo.com • JohnJCiafoneEsq.net • ( 718))