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Acting Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson, says the time is right for building resilience across the country.

Speaking at the launch of the Kingston and St. Andrew Municipal Corporation (KSAMC) Disaster Risk Management and Climate Change (DRMCC) Education Programme Poster Competition on May 2 at The Knutsford Court Hotel in St. Andrew, Mr. Thompson cited the World Bank’s ‘Advancing Disaster Risk Finance in Jamaica’ 2019 report, which states that Jamaica would need $16 billion annually, to recover from disaster events.

He said the cost shows “a nexus between disaster risk management and economic growth and development”.

“In Jamaica, when we look at the decades, in terms of disaster risk reduction, we used to have losses of between 2.2 and 2.7 per cent of GDP. As a small island developing state (SID) like ours… you have to put measures in place to ensure that we are not having those losses,” he said.

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 11 of Sustainable Cities and Communities is of particular importance to the ODPEM and municipal corporations, as adverse weather events have caused major damage in communities across the island.

“We saw one (flooding) in Montego Bay where there were hundreds of millions of dollars in losses. We saw Clarendon having over $400 million in losses from disaster events and we saw Kingston, which had flooding along the Marcus Garvey Drive, which resulted in millions of dollars in damage and also damage to businesses,” Mr. Thompson reminded.

He encouraged businesses and organisations to build partnerships to “ensure that we are building resilient cities and protecting our people”.