JIS News

The national flood-warning project has been extended to the parish of Clarendon, with a flood warning facility to be set up in the community of Mitchell Town by April.
The Mitchell Town system is part of the Rio Minho project, which is being implemented by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in collaboration with the Water Resources Authority (WRA) and the Mines and Geology Division.
“What we’re trying to do is to go around the island and in particular communities, to establish a flood warning team and a flood warning system, which will include river gauges, rain gauges, which will adequately warn vulnerable communities in flood events,” explained Nadene Newsome, Director of Information and Training at the ODPEM. She was speaking to residents in the community on Friday (Jan. 14).
According to Ms. Newsome, Mitchell Town will be the first community targeted in Clarendon for the implementation of the project with four other communities including Portland Cottage, Alley and Longwood. There is a system already in place in Aenon Town that was set up under a previous project.
Ms. Newsome said that the training of community persons to form the flood warning team would be conducted during the week of January 24-28 and that the exercise would involve the development of skills in ‘Search and Rescue’, ‘Shelter Management’, ‘Basic Disaster Management’, and ‘Hazard Identification’ in order to strengthen the community’s disaster response mechanism. “We’re just now launching off Clarendon and this is timely especially after Hurricane Ivan. What we expect to do is to train residents to respond to flood events in the first 24 hours,” she said.
Clarendon is the fourth parish in which the flood warning system has been implemented, with St. James, St. Ann, and St Mary already benefiting, while five other parishes, including Portland are expected to benefit under the national project, which began in 2002.
Funding is being provided by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) at a total cost of US$250,000.

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