PORT ANTONIO — The St. Mary Disaster Committee will be hosting a series of public education expositions on disasters, in various communities of the parish during the remainder of June and in July, to alert residents on the importance of supporting initiatives designed to prevent and mitigate the effects of those acts of nature.
Disaster Co-ordinator for the parish, Yolanda Jankie, told JIS News that the expositions will be part of a series of events during the period, which will also include a church service at the Highgate Friends church on Saturday, June 26.
She said the public education expositions will begin at Gayle on June 24, with others to follow in the communities of Richmond, Retreat, Belfield and Annotto Bay.
Mrs. Jankie said the expositions have been deliberately planned to take place in July in order to enable as much persons as possible in the parish to benefit from the information to be provided, and noted that a number of response agencies, including the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the St. Mary Fire Brigade, the Police and the Jamaica Red Cross, have been invited to participate in the discussions and interactions with the communities.
Turning to the general level of disaster preparedness in St. Mary, Mrs. Jankie said it is in a satisfactory state, pointing out that a number of projects, aimed at strengthening that effort, are currently being implemented to ensure that the effects of disasters on vulnerable communities are minimised.
She noted that these projects include the Disaster Resilient Communities Project, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and the Vulnerable Communities Assistance Project, funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), adding that all the zonal communities in the parish have been fully mobilised to respond to any emergency.
Mrs. Jankie said that all of the parish’s 73 emergency shelters are in good shape and are ready for use should the need arise.
She also pointed out that all Shelter Managers in the parish are currently being trained to provide the best service in the event of a disaster.
By ASTON G. BAILEY, JIS Reporter