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Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, says his Ministry is moving aggressively to provide a modern legal framework that will effectively regulate and manage buildings and building related activities, to ensure safety in the built environment.

“We are moving aggressively to ensure the promulgation of the National Disaster Risk Management Bill that will provide a modern legal framework for the effective regulation and control of activities to ensure public safety and welfare, minimise damage due to natural or man-made hazards and promote sustainable development,” the Minister told the House, during his contribution to the 2012/13 Sectoral Debate, on June 26.

The Bill includes the establishment of ‘No-Build Zones’, “so as to finally ensure that building on the banks of gullies, waterways and rivers becomes a thing of the past,” Minister Arscott said.

He explained that the development of a modern legislative framework is “particularly urgent and relevant in view of the critical need to reduce the vulnerability of the built environment to the ravages of natural and man-made disasters."

Mr. Arscott said he has reviewed the Bill and has settled some policy issues and a new submission will be made shortly to the Legislation Committee.

In the meantime, he informed that the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), has embarked on a Landslides Mitigation Project, which will reduce the risks and impact of disasters on communities, including buildings on gully banks. The aim of the project is to build a disaster resilient nation through comprehensive disaster management training, public education and awareness, he said.

 

By Andrea Braham