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JIS News

Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, has said that greater effort will be made during the current hurricane season, to attract more volunteers to assist in times of disaster.
“We have been investing heavily in building our volunteer corps to support our mechanism, to try and get more persons, other than just our mainstream Government personnel, working both in the pre-event and the post-event stage,” Mr. Jackson said.
He was speaking at a JIS Think Tank, on June 16, at the Half Way Tree Road offices of the agency.
Mr. Jackson pointed out that the current strategy of the ODPEM is to help young people and the various stakeholders to focus on planning, preparedness and risk mitigation. He noted that in addition to that strategy, there is an effort to forge a closer alliance with schools, students and special institutions.
“We have to engage more partners, all citizens and all sectors in the process, so we have been looking at designing projects and programmes to address our population,” he said, adding that the ODPEM has been looking at the Jamaican population, not just as a whole, but at the components of the whole, “and a number of our initiatives over the last few years have been focussing specifically at that.”
Mr. Jackson told JIS News that ODPEM has taken on a three-year project looking at building resilient communities, targeting approximately 75 communities. The project is being funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), at a cost of $43 million.
Under the project, ODPEM and other relevant agencies will be strengthening partnerships with the communities by engaging residents in training, skills transfer and development plans, so that they can have their own disaster management plans.
On June 1, Disaster Preparedness Month was launched at Jamaica House under the theme: ‘Disasters are Becoming More Intense.Staying Prepared Makes Common Sense!’ The 2009 Atlantic Hurricane season ends on November 30.