Community groups are encouraged to be proactive in disaster management and adopt the relevant risk-reduction strategies imparted by the municipal corporations and other response agencies.
Speaking with JIS News, Parish Disaster Coordinators for St. Mary and St. James, Yolande Jankie and Tamoy Sinclair, respectively, shared that for their parishes, some communities are active in seeking out disaster management information and are receptive to the information and training they receive, while others are not as engaged.
This dichotomy in response is similar across the island, but both municipal corporations and their zonal committees continue to work to effect behavioural change.
“It (the response) varies. Some communities have adopted; they are on board. They realise the importance of having an active disaster risk management mechanism, while some just wait on the agencies to respond when something happens,” Mrs. Jankie said.
“We want to encourage those vulnerable communities to adopt the disaster management strategies shared by the municipal corporations through our training and zonal committees,” she stressed.
She noted that some St. Mary communities, such as Jeffery Town and Annotto Bay, have been “very proactive” in disaster management by doing their own proposals, identifying issues, and working with different community groups and agencies to build resilience.
As it relates to St. James, Ms. Sinclair, told JIS News that “we have parish-specific brochures for the different types of hazards. We engage the communities [in terms] of strategies to reduce disaster risks like cutting overhanging trees along roadways and practices to reduce waterway blockages”.
“We also have some zonal committees that are very active and about in their communities, like Dumfries and Tangle River. They are using some of the equipment provided by the municipal corporation and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to do community-based projects and are active on the parish disaster committee, putting forward their own proposals etc.,” she noted.
Parish Disaster Coordinators are based within the 14 municipal corporations across the island.
They facilitate the implementation actions, programmes, projects and other disaster risk management initiatives of the Parish Disaster Committee or Municipal Disaster Committee.