Advertisement
JIS News

Story Highlights

  • State Minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Colin Fagan, says the parish councils and Portmore Municipality have been requested to provide preliminary reports on areas considered to be most vulnerable during natural disasters and most likely to put human safety at risk in such events.
  • The State Minister said the reporting process is expected to be completed by the end of the month.
  • Mr. Fagan was speaking at a public lecture, on July 9, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in Kingston, themed: Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies, to mark World Population Day 2015, to be observed on July 11.

State Minister in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Colin Fagan, says the parish councils and Portmore Municipality have been requested to provide preliminary reports on areas considered to be most vulnerable during natural disasters and most likely to put human safety at risk in such events.

The State Minister said the reporting process is expected to be completed by the end of the month.

Mr. Fagan was speaking at a public lecture, on July 9, at the Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ), in Kingston, themed: Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies, to mark World Population Day 2015, to be observed on July 11.

The lecture was hosted by the PIOJ, in collaboration with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Mr. Fagan  informed that Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller,  has mandated the Ministry to proceed to remove people from areas that are vulnerable during a natural hazard, such as on river banks.

“ODPEM has an enviable record of disaster management and continues to work diligently at the policy level and on the ground to prevent and respond to emergencies. It is clear, however, that a primary focus must be the stopping of illegal settlement construction,” Mr. Fagan said.

He reminded those present that the Disaster Risk Management Act has been approved by the Lower and Upper Houses of Parliament and has been in force since April 20, 2015. The Act empowers the Prime Minister to require that the whole or any part of an area deemed hazardous to be evacuated. Additionally, any authorized officer or employee of ODPEM has the authority to mandate compliance with such an Order.

The National Building Bill, which Mr. Fagan describes as a companion law to the Disaster Risk Management Act, in the context of prevention, will be passed this parliamentary year. It will point to the standards governing all construction, which will be clearly defined and given legal authority.

“The Government, through ODPEM, and in collaboration with our international partners, continues to use community power and technology transfer to reduce disaster risk,” he said.

He was referring to the recently-concluded pilot projects in St. Andrew and Portland, under the Management of Slope Stability in Communities (MoSSaiC). Through these projects, five specialist areas containing 18 subjects were taught to residents in selected areas, including Building Code Awareness, Basic Construction Techniques, Fire & Landslide Safety and Shelter Management.

The project was funded by the Japanese Social Development Fund and the World Bank at a cost of US$2.37 million.

“As World Population Day approaches, I wish to assure you that the Government of Jamaica will continue to give substance to our commitment, to use all the tools available to us to create safer living spaces and to reduce vulnerability,” Mr. Fagan said.

World Population Day is celebrated annually across the region to bring focus on the urgency and importance of population issues, particularly in the context of overall development. This year’s theme is – ‘Making It Happen: Reducing Disasters, Saving Lives’.

The public lecture was delivered by Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director at the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA). Mr. Jackson used his lecture to heighten awareness of the region’s vulnerability to hazards and to bring attention to specific key vulnerable groups, including women and girls, within Disaster Management Programmes. He also shared best practices in disaster preparedness and response.