JIS News

The National Response Team, led by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). has started shipping food, water and other aid to worst hit and isolated communities impacted by Hurricane Dean, and has plans to boost that relief support over the weekend.
By Friday night (Aug. 24), persons in shelters in Portland Cottage, Clarendon and Old Harbour Bay, St. Catherine, should have received food and other essential supplies to ease their discomfiture.
Director General of the ODPEM, Ronald Jackson, speaking at a press conference earlier on Friday (Aug. 24) at the agency’s Camp Road headquarters in Kingston, said that the Red Cross is en route to Old Harbour Bay with food, water and tarpaulin for those communities.
“We also have a truck on route to Portland Cottage to address the needs in that area to ensure that everyone is being looked after as best as we can, and come tomorrow, we will be servicing the other communities on the Vere Plain (Clarendon), which are secondary in terms of the impact to Portland Cottage,” he noted.
Mr. Jackson told journalists and representatives of international and local donor and voluntary relief agencies, who attended the press conference that “by the end of the weekend we would have made a significant dent in the level of suffering and discomfort in those areas. We note that what is required is more than short-term, and measures are being put in place now for medium to long-term support to these communities.”
He indicated that this latest effort is part of the relief exercise, which started this week in tandem with the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Adventist Disaster Relief Agency, and other government and non governmental organizations (NGO).
“Action taken by the National Response team including ODPEM, government agencies, and non-governmental organizations over this week involve the establishment of water stations in Buddoo in Old Harbour Bay, a water tank dispatched to Yallahs Primary (St. Thomas) where we have a major shelter, feeding through the Salvation Army and the Red Cross to all of our shelters across the country,” he stated.
“We’ve had distributions carried out in sections of Manchester, Clarendon and St. Catherine,” he added, noting that, the Jamaica Defence Force has been assisting in flying shipments of food to a number of communities that have been cut off because of badly damaged roads or bridges.
In the meantime, Mr. Jackson indicated that ODPEM will continue the relief distribution process in the coming weeks, and make effort to re-establish communication links and water supply within the affected parishes. The damage assessment process will also continue until normality returns to those areas most affected.
“With the support of the National Water Commission and the Rapid Response, we will be continuing the provision of water supply, whether via tanks or bottled five gallon water to some of these affected communities. The relief distribution process to shelters will continue until we manage to close those shelters out and we will continue to establish satellite water distribution stations with the assistance of our local Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) representative and other NGO groups,” he stated.

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