Government must alter rain warning system

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 30 July, 1994, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 30 July, 1994, 12:00am

THE rain warning system put in place after the dramatic incidents last year, requires fine tuning and clarification. Last Saturday, the Black Rain Warning was put up resulting in confusion among my staff as to whether they should come to the office. Other staff showed up without any query.

Clients were unsure whether we could stick to the delivery schedules committed to. As far as I am concerned the situation on Saturday did not warrant a territory-wide shut down. The economic implications of the ''stay in a safe place'' message are enormous and have strong implications for staff, suppliers and others with legal obligations to deliver.

Heavy rain in general creates sudden localised problems and is therefore of a different nature than a typhoon which is anticipated and has a territory wide effect.

I recommend that the Government adjusts the rain warning system and clarifies all implications to the public. The Red Rain Warning is to be used in case of rainfall with risk of flooding, fast running water along public roads and slope failures. This should go along with public education as to what to do (stay away from slopes, don't cross flooded roads or fast running water, etc). The Black Rain Warning is to be used to demand people to remain where they are, either territory-wide or by area only.

This to be broadcast on radio and television. By nature, this will remain in force for a limited period of time only.

The implications for staff, suppliers and others are then to be covered as they are under the typhoon warnings signal 8 and up.

Whatever the rain warning system the government decides on, it will have to improve the education of the public.



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