Shelters More Suitable for Temporary Accommodation to be Set Up

Story Highlights

  • The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is seeking to establish emergency shelters deemed more ideally suited to provide temporary accommodation for persons who have to be evacuated from communities affected by disasters, such as flooding.
  • Portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Ministry will be working closely with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), which falls under his purview, to identify suitable areas where these can be located.
  • Mr. McKenzie said persons have raised concerns, particularly during the onset of severe weather, about the state of some facilities being used as emergency shelters.

The Ministry of Local Government and Community Development is seeking to establish emergency shelters deemed more ideally suited to provide temporary accommodation for persons who have to be evacuated from communities affected by disasters, such as flooding.

Portfolio Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, says the Ministry will be working closely with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), which falls under his purview, to identify suitable areas where these can be located.

He was speaking at a meeting with ODPEM’s management and staff, at the agency’s Haining Road head office, in Kingston, on March 17.

Mr. McKenzie said persons have raised concerns, particularly during the onset of severe weather, about the state of some facilities being used as emergency shelters.

Citing the usage of the National Arena, the Minister said while this is welcomed, it can “only go so far (and no further).”

In relation to schools, he said not all of them are ideally structured for use as temporary shelters.

“So, one of my commitments, in working with you (ODPEM), is to identify suitable locations for the construction of proper shelters (for use) in times of disaster. I believe that for a country, such as ours, that sits within the circle of disaster, we must be proactive and not reactionary,” he emphasised.

Meanwhile, Mr. McKenzie urged evacuees who are offered temporary accommodation to make the most of what is provided.

“The conditions at the shelters are not going to be conducive to what you (are accustomed to) when you are at your homes. But, at least, it can be made acceptable so that when you say to persons ‘it is in your interest to leave your homes’, they know that they are going somewhere where they can feel a little comfortable,” he said.

The meeting formed part of Mr. McKenzie’s scheduled activities to familiarise himself with the agencies under the Ministry.

JIS Social