JIS News

January 9 to 15 is Earthquake Awareness Week and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has planned a number of activities to mark the occasion.
Nadene Newsome, Director of Information and Training at ODPEM, told JIS News that the week of activities was being held to engender public awareness about the dangers and consequences of earthquakes and how to deal with such a disaster. “We intend to use the week to encourage awareness and to highlight the hazards of earthquakes and tsunamis,” she pointed out.
Activities kick off on Sunday with a church service at the St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Port Royal beginning at 10:00 a.m. On Monday, a panel discussion will be held at the Jamaica Pegasus on the theme Earthquake Threats: How prepared are we? Panelists will include Dr. Barbara Carby, Director General of the ODPEM, and Dr. Margaret Wiggan-Grandison of the Earthquake Unit.
Tuesday will be observed as Hazard Awareness Day in Schools, with drills organised at the Montego Bay High School in St. James and at Hillel Academy in Kingston and on Wednesday, Earthquake Awareness Day for businesses will be observed. On Thursday, the ODPEM will host an Earthquake Awareness Expo at Port Royal, the site of the 1907 earthquake, and on Friday, the 98th anniversary of the 1907 earthquake, a community meeting will be held in Mitchell Town, Clarendon, where a flood warning system will also be set up.
KLAS FM 89 will also broadcast live from the Earthquake Unit on Friday, beginning at 6:00 a.m.The week of activities culminates on Saturday, with prayer and worship at the North Street Seventh Day Adventist Church beginning at 10:00 a.m.
The recent tsunami tragedy in Asia has led to renewed interest in the possibility of a similar occurrence in the Caribbean, specifically in Jamaica, and as such, the ODPEM will be using the week to bring awareness to this disaster as well.
“It is timely that the Jamaican public is now aware of the earthquakes that a tsunami can cause and we intend to use the week to educate the public about the effects of tsunamis,” Miss Newsome said.
She further noted that, “we started a public awareness campaign on storm surges and tsunamis some time ago and we plan to resume this campaign with the distribution of brochures on tsunamis and earthquakes”.
Earthquake Awareness Week was started to commemorate the anniversaries of the earthquakes of January 14, 1907 and January 13, 1993.
This year’s theme is: Earthquakes have no season. Be aware you can prepare!!

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