Prime Minister the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller says if Jamaica is to achieve sustainable development, disaster risk management must be an essential component. The Prime Minister also said the country must engage in proactive forward planning and disaster preparedness on an ongoing basis.
“In the ten year period between 2000 and 2010, the country suffered estimated losses averaging $14 billion per year or some 2.5 percent of its Gross Domestic Product. This loss is attributed to floods and storms alone, and with so many other disasters that strike, this sum is considerable greater, impacting on our prospects for meaningful development” Mrs. Simpson Miller said, while addressing members of the National Disaster Preparedness Committee on June 13 at Jamaica House.
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The Prime Minister noted that constant planning and preparedness is the best approach to minimize the severity of any resulting impact, damage or loss from a disaster. Mrs. Simpson Miller used the occasion to call on Jamaicans to assist in strengthening the capacity of their communities to become disaster resilient and said while there is a tendency to look to government; Jamaicans can take measures to manage disaster risks. She urged communities to take care of their infrastructures and citizens to avoid building their homes in areas close to gullies or on land that is prone to slippage or flooding. Proper disposal of garbage is also important.
The meeting of the National Disaster Committee which is chaired by the Prime Minister was called to review the national strategy to deal with disasters, assess the country’s level of preparedness and formulate coordinated guidelines for the national response, including the adequacy of manpower, physical and other resources for emergency operations before, during and after a disaster.
The prediction for this hurricane season is for a less than active one of between nine and 15 named storms with one to three systems developing into major hurricanes.
Contact: Communications Unit-OPM