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The Government today (November 30) received US$15,000 from the Chilean Embassy to assist in restoration efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

The donation was handed over to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) during a brief ceremony at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) offices in Kingston.

Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of Chile, Enzo Barra N., said discussions have been ongoing with ODPEM to identify ways in which they can help.

He stated that while the contribution “may be small,” it is significant in assisting the needs of the people.

“For Chile, a natural disaster is something that we are very aware of. We (were) hit in 2010 by a major earthquake and tsunami and we know that the world was looking at us. We got a lot of support…so therefore it is only something natural for us that whenever friends also encounter trouble, we can also assist in any way we can,” he said.

Resident Representative, UNDP, Dr. Arun Kashyap, said his organisation will continue to work with other governments to ensure that Jamaica has the resources needed “to get back to normalcy”.

He commended the work of ODPEM in disaster preparedness and management. “Hurricane Sandy showed us how important preparedness is (and that it is) extended not only at the national level but also extends to the parish level,” he said.

Deputy Director General, ODPEM, Richard Thompson, expressed his sincere gratitude to the Chilean Embassy for the donation.

He said that the agency has been working for some time with the government of Chile in terms of “what they want to give to disaster risk reduction measures in Jamaica.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Thompson informed that OPDEM is working on building resilience at the parish level, “where they are able to respond to themselves until the state mechanism is able to assist greater”.

“We have done a lot of work in that area in terms of building community resilience because that is now the new mantra of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management,” he stated.   

Following the passage of Hurricane Sandy on October 24, ODPEM prepared and submitted a list of priority areas for assistance to the Chilean Embassy.

The list included: livelihood support to the agricultural sector (seedlings, fertilizers); repairs to infirmaries; vector control; and repairs to schools.