JIS News

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) teamed with the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and its partners, to host a ‘Strengthening Partnerships for Disaster Risk Reduction’ workshop, at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, New Kingston, on Friday (October 9).
The workshop, conducted under the ODPEM/CIDA Building Disaster Resilient Communities Project, engaged the Department of Local Government, which included Mayors, Secretary Managers and Parish Disaster Co-ordinators, in discussions on their roles and responsibilities in Jamaica’s disaster management framework.
Minister of State in the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM) with responsibility for Local Government, Hon. Robert Montague, said that education for Disaster Risk Reduction has to start at the community level, specifically in the preparations of shelters.
“We must start at the bottom of the community and work our way to the top,” he charged.
He also urged the respective Mayors to map their parishes and develop shelter committees to manage, secure and take care of the assigned shelters before, during and after disasters.
Other issues of concern raised in the workshop, included the need to improve disaster management, by encouraging communities to move away from ‘response’ and toward ‘prevention’. ODPEM’s Director General, Ronald Jackson, highlighted the need for communities to take a more holistic approach to disaster risk reduction.
He said this could be done by focussing more on risk mitigation, as a priority, in order to reduce the incidences of response. Also highlighted was the need for more persons with the right expertise and skills, who are able to accurately assess disaster risk reduction.
The workshop was held to help improve partnerships for disaster management and emergency response at the community, parish and the national levels, which will ultimately improve the country’s disaster mitigation and response capacity.

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