The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management’s (ODPEM) Director General, Mr. Ronald Jackson at a Press Conference on June 1, 2010 informed members of the media that over 98 million Jamaica dollars had so been spent on direct investments in disaster risk reduction project initiatives for the period March 2009 to April 2010 through direct assistance from international donor funding. The press conference, hosted by the ODPEM, was one of the many activities slated to highlight Disaster Preparedness Month, June 2010.
Mr. Jackson noted that some of the mitigation projects included the Safe Housing Project which facilitated repairs to 1,103 damaged roofs in Eastern Jamaica. The United Nations Children’s Fund project “Protecting Children in Emergencies by Strengthening the Capacity of Schools and their surrounding communities to respond to disasters” selected 41 schools for training in how to design and develop Emergency Response Plans. Training in light level search and rescue and damage assessment were also carried out.
It was also highlighted that the ODPEM’s emergency relief supplies had been depleted as a result of deploying resources to assist with persons affected by the earthquake in Haiti in January 2010 and the recent civil unrest in Western Kingston. Mr. Jackson said that the ODPEM is looking to replenish the outstanding stock.
Also present were partner agencies the Meteorological Service and the Earthquake Unit who informed the media of the predictions for the 2010 Atlantic Hurricane Season and Jamaica’s vulnerability to earthquakes respectively.
Disaster Preparedness Month being observed under the theme “Disaster Preparedness Be in the Know… don’t just go with the Flow!” is one of the many activities planned by the ODPEM to promote various risk reduction measures with an aim to increase public awareness to reduce the potential threats that various hazards may cause.