The Full Story
The rescue of 24 persons trapped by flood waters in a section of St. Thomas by the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Air Wing has been hailed as a signal of the strength of the country’s disaster coordination and response.
Acting Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Richard Thompson, said that Friday’s (November 17) rescue mission, which took place at the intersection of Amity Hall and Golden Grove, was risky due to wind and visibility issues.
“The JDF pilots flew in very treacherous conditions,” he pointed out.
Mr. Thompson also commended the fire and police personnel, who first responded to the residents who had been trapped in their vehicles since late Thursday (November 16).
Mr. Thompson is imploring persons to follow the instructions of the authorities during severe weather conditions.
He said they should avoid flood waters during heavy rains and to not attempt to drive on flooded roadways.
He noted that people who continue to take these risks not only endanger their lives but also the lives of the first responders who must come to their rescue.
Deputy Director General of ODPEM, Michelle Edwards, said that the rescue mission was the result of “real coordination”, managed by ODPEM, which is the national disaster management coordinator.
“This is the strength of the disaster management system; the inter-agency coordination for which we strive. It is fundamental in managing emergencies,” she said.
Ms. Edwards also implored persons to avoid flooded areas.
ODPEM, which is an entity under the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, is the national disaster organisation responsible for disaster management in Jamaica.
It is charged with the responsibility for taking action to reduce the impact of disasters and emergencies on the Jamaican population and its economy.
ODPEM plays a coordinating role in the execution of emergency response and relief operations in major disaster events.