Minster of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Myles LaRoda, Sunday urged Bahamians everywhere to commence their preparations for the 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season now, as yet another above-average season has been predicted by weather forecasters.
State-Minister LaRoda made his plea while addressing the 11am Sunday Morning Anniversary and Eucharistic Service at the historic Zion Baptist Church, East and Shirley Streets. Disaster Management officials used the church service to officially launch Disaster Preparedness Month in The Bahamas, and to join hands with the church family at Zion Baptist in celebration of the church’s 187th anniversary.
The Church has had its experiences with the devastating impacts that can accompany disastrous events such as Hurricanes, as the roof of its building was completely destroyed during the passage of Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
“I am advised that the residents of The Bahamas should brace for another busy Hurricane Season that covers the period June 1 through November 30 (2022),” State-Minister LaRoda told his audience. “This year marks the seventh consecutive above-average Hurricane Season which underscores the importance of ongoing emergency preparedness.
“Weather experts have (also) observed a pattern in recent years with systems developing before June 1. This means that residents would be wise to review their hurricane plans and begin seasonal preparations early. Residents are encouraged to be ready and to stay ready no matter the forecast. More frequent, busy seasons should remind us all that it only takes one storm to have a very serious impact to our shores. We all are aware of the impact Hurricane Dorian had.”
State-Minister LaRoda said the observance of Disaster Preparedness Month is one in a number of tools Disaster Managers use to raise awareness to the importance of preparing for emergencies and/or disasters “that can happen at any time.” The theme for the Month is: “Strengthening Community Readiness for a Better Tomorrow.”
Churches, State-Minister LaRoda said, can play an exponential role in this area as they already have community outreach programmes that
consistently target the communities in which they are located.
“This theme underscores the important role communities have to play in being prepared to withstand the impacts of adverse events. A community- based disaster reduction unit is most successful when there is direct mparticipation from the people most likely to be exposed to the hazards. For this reason, throughout the month of May, NEMA (the National Emergency Management Agency), and its partners will engage the public in activities to address areas of disaster preparedness.
“I know that one of the Church’s important ministries is community outreach, community education and to make available to the general
public, church halls for hurricane shelters. I applaud this partnership and thank you for your continued support.”
The State-Minister commended the officers and members of Zion Baptist Church, both past and present, for their unfailing commitment to Christian ministry and worship over the past 187 years. Church celebrations are being held under the theme: “Affirmed and Assured.”
“The chosen theme for this 187th anniversary speaks strongly to Zion’s unshakeable faith and confidence in the promises of God, His Grace, His Kingdom and His Righteousness. Assured of His goodness and mercy, Zion Baptist Church has remained committed in its resolve to obey and hold fast to God’s divine decree as an application of your faith. You have stayed the course in the spiritual vineyard for almost two centuries and have not grown weary of preaching the gospel, of comforting the broken-hearted, of clothing the naked, feeding the hungry, protecting the widow, pleading the cause of the poor and ministering to the sick and shut-in.
“We are so delighted to be worshipping with you today on the 187th anniversary of the Church’s Christian witness in our beloved Bahamaland.
You are to be commended and encouraged. May God continue to bless your efforts,” State-Minister LaRoda added.