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Mayor of Kingston, Senator Councilllor Angela Brown Burke, says the Council is currently implementing measures aimed at strengthening the Kingston and St. Andrew Corporation’s (KSAC) readiness for the 2013 hurricane season.

In a statement read by Deputy Chairman, Andrew Swaby, during the KSAC’s monthly meeting on June 11, Mrs. Brown Burke informed that some 132 shelters, including 13 classified as “priority” facilities, have already been identified across Kingston and St. Andrew.

“Additionally, we embarked on the training of 18 shelter managers, who will be assigned to shelters to assist with the management, if and when required. We will also be working with the Jamaica Red Cross to train more shelter managers throughout the season,” she advised.

Mrs. Brown Burke, disclosed that the municipality’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) has also initiated the procurement process, to ensure that supplies are available, should the need for these arise.

She said in recognition of the importance of planning for the hurricane season as well as the benefits to be derived from public education and training, several key internal and external stakeholders and representatives were summoned to a meeting in May, to provide reports on their level of readiness.

These representatives included: the Parish Disaster Co-ordinator; members of the KSAC’s technical team; and personnel of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security; Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM); National Solid Waste Management Authority (NSWMA); Kingston and St. Andrew Health Department; Jamaica Public Service Company (JPS); National Works Agency (NWA); Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA); Jamaica Urban Transit Company (JUTC); and Adventist Disaster Relief Agency (ADRA).

“All stakeholders have started mitigation efforts and are partnering with the KSAC to conduct shelter inspections; facilitate refresher training; training in respect of extrication, fire fighting and rescue, as well as mobilizing community emergency response teams,” she informed.

Mrs. Brown Burke said various sensitisation activities are also being undertaken throughout the municipality. These include: presentations at schools, communities, and business places. Additionally, she said drills on basic disaster management, hurricane safety, earthquake safety, and flooding, are being conducted.

“The committee and stakeholders will continue to meet within the month of June, with subsequent meetings every month,” the Mayor advised.

The KSAC Emergency Operations Centre is located at 65 Hanover Street, downtown Kingston, and can be contacted at 967-3329.

Mrs. Brown Burke assured that, in the event of an emergency, additional lines will be put in place, and the corresponding numbers communicated to the public.

Contact: Douglas McIntosh