The passage of Hurricane Sandy on October 25, 2013 reiterated the country’s vulnerability to natural disasters, which include earthquakes, flooding, drought as well as hurricanes. In order to mitigate the impact of these disasters, various measures were undertaken by the LAs. This was done through collaboration with local and international agencies such as the ODPEM Jamaica Red Cross, the EU, CIDA the IDB, the Australian Government and the City of Hagen, Germany to strengthen the parishes’ resilience as outlined below.
The Council addresses all aspects of Man-made and natural disasters such as Earthquake, Fire, Flood, Hurricane, and Freak Storm. The Council is responsible for monitoring disaster within the parish, preparing Parish Disaster Plan and ensuring public education such as shelters for the public, disaster prone areas, educating the public on precautionary measures for disasters, conducting simulation exercises and establishes emergency shelter for mass care relief. Activities associated with disaster management are dealt with at the parish level through a Parish Disaster Committee, which operates out of the Parish Council’s office.
The Parish Disaster Committee meets at quarterly intervals or as considered necessary by the Chairman. The Council therefore communicates all plans or revisions to the ODPEM and develops programmes for the rehabilitation of disaster victims. Also they ensure plans exist for taking care of special groups (physically challenged, aged, etc.) and institutionalized population in an emergency. They formulate a system for the equitable distribution of critical food items arriving into the Island after a disaster and a policy for pricing these goods.
The Local Authorities demonstrated their commitment to building resilient communities during the 2013-2014 financial year. The communities across the parishes benefitted tremendously from various interventions. The achievements as outlined below in Table 1 were made possible through collaboration with local and international agencies within their respective parishes.
Table 1: Disaster Mitigation and Preparation activities conducted by the LAs 2013 – 2014
|National Goal # 4: Jamaica has a Healthy Natural Environment|
|National Strategy 14 – 1: Improve resilience to all forms of hazards|
|Local Authority||Disaster Preparedness & Mitigation Activities
||No of Communities benefitting|
|St. Mary||Conducted EOC training Initial
Damage Assessment, Inspection of
Shelters and training in Shelter Management and Amateur radio use. Conducted Earthquake drills and simulation. Five (5) Disaster Plans were developed.
|ODPEM Red Cross,
HelpAge, JFB, MOH,
ODPEM, JFB, and JCF
|St. Catherine||Shelter Managers trained, Training
was done in Incident Command, Initial Damage Assessments, Radio Operations, First Aid and Safety Monitor Training. Public education forums were conducted on Climate Change.
|Jamaica Red Cross,
NSWMA and MOE
|St. James||Conducted an Earthquake Awareness
Education Campaign in the school district of the parish on how to stay safe during and after an earthquake. The Annual Education Awareness Competition was held in 20 participating schools. A Hurricane Exposition was hosted by the Council.
|JFB, MOE, IDB, ODPEM,
Advantage General, Cancara Development, Chambers Bookstore, Caribbean producers Jamaica, Goodluck Jewellers, Henderson Bookstore, Hilton Rose Hall, Holiday Inn, JMMB, Lloyds Department store, Love Jewellers, NCB, Sangster’s Bookstore, Tortuga Jamaica and Wexford Hotel, MLSS, Jamaica Red Cross, ODPEM, Council, JFB, JCF, NEPA, NSWMA, Schools, NWA, NWC, JPS, MOH, and SDC
|St. Thomas||Disaster Plans for five (5) communities completed, training in shelter management, in Search and Rescue, First Aid, Telecoms Training. Initial Damage Assessment was conducted in 30 communities. The parish’s Risk Plan was also updated.
141 sensitisation sessions on basic Disaster Management, Hurricane and Earthquake Preparedness and Earth Quake Drills were conducted.
|Red Cross||55, schools, churches, health centres,
community meetings and citizens’ associations
|Trelawny||Presentations made to schools,
business places and within
communities, executed Earthquake Drills, installed a Standby Generator at the EOC, had EOC training, updated the Trelawny Infirmary Homeless/ Street People Disaster Plans and completed the Trelawny Parish Disaster Plan. Conducted a Simulation Exercise.
|Manchester||Climate Change Awareness, Training in Damage Assessment, First Aid, Shelter Management and earthquake simulations, conducted Shelter Inspection and Shelter Managers’ Training, Earthquake Presentations and Drills||EU/GOJ project, Red Cross, CIDA, ODPEM, Health Department, Fire Department, MOE and the ODPEM||Porus, Alligator Pond, St.Toolis and Scotts Pass,Devon and Asia, were also done for the Business Community of Mandeville, Christiana|
|Portland||Training conducted in EARs, shelter
management, IDA, First Aid Disaster Plan and Damage Assessment Information System Plumbing, Masonry, Carpentry, IDA, Shelter Management, Basic Disaster Management, Conflict Management, Radio Communication and First Aid. Hosted an earthquake simulation Exercise. Hosted three (3) exhibitions to sensitising citizens of the parish on disaster preparedness. Educational Talks on disaster preparedness were also conducted at
14 schools and one (1) business
|Love 101, PDC Members
and ODPEM, HelpAge Project, MoSSaiC project, Red Cross, PPC, Portland Fire Brigade and Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
|St. Ann||Shelter Mangers Training, Hurricane
Drills, Earthquake Drills in eight (8) Schools, Disaster Plan review and Chlorine Spill, conducted training in Tire Soil Technology Mitigation Activities included the cleaning of sinkholes as well as gullies to reduce flooding in five (5) divisions.
|Red Cross, Runaway Bay
Water Company, ODPEM
communities and five (5) divisions: Bensonton, St Ann’s Bay, Calderwood, Moneague
and Lime Hall
|Westmoreland||Five (5) hazard mapping sessions,
trained in Search and Rescue, Vulnerability and Capacity Assessment and First Aid, 49 Shelter Inspections were conducted and Shelter Managers’ Training was conducted in 13 communities, in Initial Damage Assessment, Basic Disaster Management, First Aid, Livelihood Assessment Workshop, Safety at Sea and Climate Change and Search and Rescue.
Fund, Jamaica Red Cross
Sheffield, Whitehall and Westland Mountain, Negril, Little Bay, Brighton, Sheffield, Springfield
|Clarendon||Conducted a Damage Assessment
Workshop to sensitise community
members on the correct way to assess damages incurred from a disaster. Held a public education campaign on disaster preparedness. Implemented a Community Disaster Risk Management Project. Hosted a Drought and Climate Change Workshop.
Relief, JFB, Red Cross,
SDC/ RADA/ and Ebony
|Hanover||Hosted training, workshops on Earthquake Awareness, conducted comprehensive shelter inspection, repairs to Parish Disaster Office and Storage Container for emergency supplies.||ODPEM, NEPA, Public Health Dept. ODPEM
|St. Elizabeth||Completed training in First Aid, CPR,
Hazard Mapping and Search and Rescue. Training was conducted in Shelter Management and Initial Damage Assessment Training. Prepared a draft of Tsunami Plan and the Homeless/Street People Disaster Plan for the Parish. Presentations on Disaster Preparedness were made to the disabled in some communities and the Marantha School for the Deaf in the parish. Carried out earthquake and fire drills, stocked its disaster stores.
Cross, JFB, ODPEM, SDC, Salvation Army, NGOs, Food for the Poor
|Portmore Municipality||Conducted training in Shelter Management. Conducted sensitisation sessions with the disabled. Retrofitted an emergency storage facility (20ft container) and procured emergency items (water boots, raincoats, flashlights, batteries) for the storehouse. Conducted earthquake drills/presentations were conducted in six (6) schools (Gregory Park, Independence City, Bridgeport Basic, Waterford Infant, Cedar Groves Academy, and Portmore Heart Academy. The Council hosted a Safe School Forum which saw 33 participating in the event. Partnership continued between the Municipality of Portmore and the City of Hagen, Germany to establish a joint programme of action on climate change mitigation and adaptation.||MoSSaiC, Panos
Disability Association and ODPEM, Building Disaster Resilient Communities project, UNISDR, City of Hagen, Germany
|KSAC||Conducted Shelter Management Training, completed inspection of several shelters prior to the hurricane season to ensure their functionality in the event of a hazard. Conducted training activities that strengthen the communities’ response to the different hazards.||ODPEM, MLSS, Jamaica
Fire Brigade and Red
Cross, MoSSaic project, CCRDR, ODPEM
Four (4) communities
All LAs implemented the necessary training courses and collaborated with local as well as international stakeholders to improve their respective parish’s preparedness to deal with disasters. Schools, businesses and communities island-wide have benefitted from various interventions outlined in Table 1 above.