Disaster Management

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                                                                      
Collaborative Entity
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,
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,
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.
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
Two (2)
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.
ODPEM,  Adaptation
Fund, Jamaica Red Cross
Red Ground,
Sheffield, Whitehall and Westland Mountain, Negril,   Little Bay, Brighton, Sheffield, Springfield
and Silver
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
Heart Academy
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
Caribbean, Combined
Disability Association and ODPEM, Building Disaster Resilient Communities project, UNISDR, City of Hagen, Germany
3 communities,
6 schools
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
12 divisions
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.