JIS News

As the hurricane season approaches, Jamaicans are being encouraged to keep drains and gullies clear and cut down overhanging branches to mitigate the effects of any disaster.
“Look at power lines that may pose threats, clean waterways and as we approach the hurricane season, start checking on your own supplies and educate the children about disasters. Let us do things that will mitigate the adverse effects of disasters,” said Dr. Donald Rhodd, State Minister for Education, Youth and Culture.
Emphasis is being placed on disaster preparedness for National Labour Day 2005, which will be observed on May 23 under theme: ‘Prepare for Disaster. Recover Faster’.
In keeping with this theme, emphasis will be placed on repairing and constructing community centres across the island to be used as shelters during times of disaster.
Dr. Rhodd told JIS News, that the focus on community centres was to reduce the use of schools as shelters. “Traditionally, we have used schools as some of the main places where we house people during times of disaster and that has created a number of challenges whereby students are prevented from attending school and people vandalize and remove school furniture and other equipment”, he pointed out.
The national project is the renovation of the Buena Vesta community centre in Myersville, St. Elizabeth, which will serve as a model for similar facilities across the island. “Our architectural department is seeking to use the national project as a prototype and we are encouraging all parishes to identify and refurbish a centre in their parish,” Dr. Rhodd stated.
Meanwhile, the State Minister noted that the government was seeking to encourage community members to support each other during times of disaster and to take responsibility for their own space.
“We want to encourage more partnership between community members so persons don’t necessarily have to move to a community centre but can move to a neighbour’s house that may be more secure,” he sated. Continuing he noted, “we want to encourage camaraderie between persons, but more importantly, we want to encourage people to prepare there own space before they even get to the community centre”.

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