The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has received a donation of $ 1,184, 838.00 from the French Government to carry out a vector control and sanitation project in collaboration with the Ministry of Health.
Ambassador of France to Jamaica, His Excellency Marc-Olivier Gendry, presented the cheque to Director General of ODPEM, Ronald Jackson on February 2 at the agency's office on Haining Road in Kingston.
Mr. Jackson said ODPEM was very appreciative of the contribution, which will go towards efforts to restore some level of comfort to those affected by tropical storm Nicole, which affected the island in late September of 2010.
He added the contribution is timely and will assist those who still "remain in trying conditions."
In his remarks, Ambassador Gendry said that addressing health issues is an "absolute necessity" after a disaster or environmental hazard.
He said that “France is happy to support the Jamaican authorities and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management in their efforts to fix and to prevent the problems resulting from environmental hazards.”
The vector control and sanitation project will be implemented island wide with focus placed on the western region, particularly Hanover and Westmoreland, where the "pooling and ponding" of water remain, said Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse.
She said that the accumulation of water contributes to the breeding of vectors, mosquitoes and the collection of debris and the donation from France will assist in the ongoing efforts to ensure that environmental health conditions return to normal.
"We are still carrying out vector control activities; we are still carrying out activities for sanitation to ensure that we can avert outbreaks. We are all aware that since tropical storm Nicole, we have been dealing with a dengue outbreak, which, while it has abated, we continue to be very vigilant about, to ensure that we do not have any upsurges," Dr. Bullock DuCasse said.
In the meantime, Ambassador Gendry informed that the European Union, the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the Jamaican authorities will be launching a $500 million climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction programme later today.
The project will assist the country with implementing strategies that increase protection of vulnerable areas and reduce risks associated with natural disasters. It will include watershed and coastal rehabilitation as well as climate change awareness.
CONTACT: CHRIS PATTERSON