JIS News

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is working with residents and groups in the parishes of St. Elizabeth, Manchester and Clarendon, to ensure that they are prepared to deal with the effects of disasters.
The move includes the drafting and approval of community disaster risk reduction plans and the training of residents to reduce the impact of disasters and to Manager of ODPEM’s Southern Region, Mr. Gregory Paragh, speaking at a JIS Think Tank on Tuesday (October 13), said that while some plans were already in place in St. Elizabeth and Manchester, they lacked initiative.
“We are developing disaster plans for the infirmaries, hospitals and other critical facilities. We are also looking at the roles and responsibilities of the members of the respective groups,” he informed.
The work, which is being implemented under the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)-funded Building Disaster Resilient Communities Programme (BDRCP), started in Alligator Pond, St. Elizabeth with the training of people in basic disaster management and developing plans for the community.
Mr. Paragh said that ODPEM is also doing work in Ginger Hill in the parish and will start another project in New River. He informed that work has been completed in Rocky Point, Clarendon and projects will begin in Porus, Manchester and Kellits in Clarendon.
“We are on track in regards to project implementation in the southern region and the use of the project to bring across risk reduction activities and measures in the area,” he said, noting that the plans incorporate the various sectors such as tourism and agriculture.
Mr. Paragh informed that the communities are required to review the plans every six months. “We are trying to make the plans as fluid as possible. These are not documents that they write once and put away,” he told JIS News.
The BDRCP project aims to foster sustainable partnerships in disaster mitigation and emergency response at the community, parish and national levels, with the ultimate aim of making Jamaica a disaster resilient country.
A key part of the project is to train residents of selected vulnerable communities in disaster mitigation and emergency response.
ODPEM and its main partners, work together to establish/consolidate zones island wide, and through its community-based partners, participate in the design of emergency mitigation and response plans and the training and development of stakeholder groups.

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