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JIS News

Residents of Old Harbour Bay, St Catherine, will be updated on disaster preparedness plans for the community, at a meeting scheduled for the Old Harbour Bay Primary School on Monday, August 18, starting at 6:00 p.m.
The meeting is being organised by the Jamaica Information Service (JIS), in collaboration with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), and the Old Harbour Bay Community Development Association.
Guest speakers will be Regional Coordinator, ODPEM, Sophia Mitchell, and former Executive Director of the Caribbean Coastal Area Management Foundation and Environmentalist, Peter Espeut.
Parish Disaster Coordinator, ODPEM, Patricia Lewis, told JIS News, that the meeting will focus on disaster management, relocation and evacuation of residents in the event of a hurricane, and the conservation of the environment. Residents will also be informed of the disaster management programmes of ODPEM, the St Catherine Parish Council, and other agencies.
Additionally, persons will have the opportunity to direct their concerns to the Mayor of Spanish Town and Chairman of the St Catherine Parish Disaster Committee, Dr Andrew Wheatley. Representatives from other Government agencies will also be in attendance to answer questions.
Miss Lewis said that one of the main concerns of the community was the need for a secure shelter, in the event that persons have to be relocated from their homes.
“The feedback that we have been getting is that they would like a building, or somewhere they could hold their belongings. I am sure if they do have that, the evacuation process would be much easier for us,” she said.
The Old Harbour Bay Community Centre, which is the official shelter for the Old Harbour Bay community, is in a state of disrepair. According to Miss Lewis, funds have not yet been identified to repair the building, which was damaged during the passage of Hurricane Dean last year.
Following the meeting, residents will get the opportunity to see a JIS video presentation on disaster preparedness.