JIS News

Two more communities have been selected by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to benefit under the World Bank-funded Community-Based Landslide Risk Reduction Project (CBLRRP).

The new communities – Bedward Gardens in St. Andrew and Breastwork in Portland, will join Harbour Heights and Melbrook Heights in St. Andrew bringing to four, the number of communities to benefit from mitigation strategies and training to reduce hazards.

Senior Director for preparedness and emergency operations at ODPEM, Horace Glaze, told JIS News that the communities met the key criteria for intervention, that of being a compact settlement, which is at risk from hazards such as flooding and land slippages.

Among the mitigation strategies include putting in traditional terracing, benching of slopes, planting of grass and the implementation of drains and gutters.

He informed that while work is advanced in Harbour Heights and Melbrook Heights work was at the preliminary stage in the two new communities. “We are still in the engagement process, working with the local authority, the agencies on the ground and the communities, to give them an idea of what the project is about, look at their risk for landslides and how they can put measures in place to reduce those risks,” he informed.

“We’ve begun the initial mapping process with these communities so that we can later address the concepts and thereafter the details.  We’re still in the preliminary stages but we are ready to roll out with those communities in short order,” Mr. Glaze told JIS News.

Being carried out through a US$2.4 million grant, the project employs low-cost strategies developed under the Management of Slope Stabilisation in Communities (MoSSaiC) methodology to prevent flooding and landslides. The MoSSaiC strategy was developed by geologists Professor Malcolm Anderson and Dr Elizabeth Holcombe, of the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

MoSSaiC uses a simple implementation formula, in which a process called ‘Community Mapping’ is utilised.  This involves members of the MoSSaiC team, members of the ODPEM and of the community walking through the areas, with community members pointing out the locations where they get a lot of water, where the water goes, where the landslides occur,  and where houses might have been lost due to landslides. From that information, a map is then plotted with GPS data.

Decisions are then made, in conjunction with the community, regarding where to put drain networks and gullies that would stop the water saturating the soil, especially near homes, thereby reducing the risk of landslides.

The first community test case, Harbour Heights, a former Operation PRIDE settlement, is now a regularised community overlooking Harbour View, where some $50 million is to be spent erecting a network of drains, channels and rainwater harvesting strategies that will act as natural hazard intervention techniques.


By O. Rodger Hutchinson, JIS PRO

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