JIS News

Old Harbour, St. Catherine and surrounding communities are to benefit from the relaunch of its disaster management zonal committee on Thursday (August 20).
The relaunch is a collaborative effort between the St. Catherine Parish Council’s Parish Disaster Committee (PDC) and the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). It is scheduled for the Holy Trinity Anglican Church, Darlington Drive,Old Harbour starting at 4 pm.
The committee will form part of an initiative to strengthen the capacity of Old Harbour Bay to resist disasters, under the Building Disaster Resilient Communities’ (BDRC) project. The project is currently being implemented by ODPEM, with support funding from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Community Emergency Response Teams (CERTs) will also be strategically established in vulnerable areas, such as Old Harbour Bay.
Disaster Co-ordinator at the St. Catherine Parish Council, Patricia Lewis, says that having the zonal committee allows for better management of communities and response to their needs. She also explained that the previous committee became ineffective because, over time, the task was left to only a few persons.
“So, working along with the SDC, we decided to re-establish the committee, taking into consideration the wider Old Harbour development area, including Old Harbour Bay, as far as Conners, Bodles, the border of Clarendon, Bushy Park and McCooks Pen,” she told JIS News.
Miss Lewis also told JIS News that the process was a simple one and functioned similar to that of the parish disaster committee.
“As long as the warning is issued, we would activate the committee, contact the team leader and a mechanism would be put in place where the shelter managers would activate the shelters,” she stated.
Commendation must be given to persons who form this volunteer body as, in times of disasters, they have to leave their families to go out and see to the welfare of others without compensation, she noted.
These volunteers are supported by the Parish Councils. The St. Catherine Parish Council supports the activities of the committee, she confirmed.
“Whenever meetings are called and decisions are to be taken they are always present and very supportive,” she told JIS News.
Miss Lewis reminded that persons willing to become volunteers, could contact the St. Catherine Parish Council for further details. They could also make contact at Thursday’s relaunch at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church.

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