Ja to benefit from US$15 million grant
Jamaica is among eight Caribbean countries slated to benefit from a US$15 million grant from the government of Japan to strengthen the country's resilience to climate change.
The Japanese ambassador, Yasuo Takase, made the announcement at the launch of a Hazards Handy Manual on Wednesday at the Haining Road headquarters of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).
The provision, under the Japan-Caribbean Partnership for Climate Change, aims to assist Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in the Caribbean region to overcome their vulnerability to the challenges associated with climate change.
"Taking lessons from our own experiences, the people and government of Japan see the dire need to work in partnership with other countries. In so doing, other people can learn from these tragedies and apply lessons from Japan in order to plan effectively in the event of similar disaster ... occurring in their country," said Takase.
The manual, developed in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), among other stakeholders in disaster-mitigation services, functions as a public education tool on disaster preparedness and response.
It is a comprehensive guide on most hazards in Jamaica and details preparedness tips for various sectors and segments of the society.
Minister of Local Govern-ment and Community Deve-lopment Noel Arscott welcomed the production of the handbook.
He said that as the effects of climate change become more apparent, the Government is taking steps to transform Jamaica into a disaster-resilient nation, and this will be enhanced through the manual, among other initiatives.
Arscott also hailed the collaboration with the Japanese.
"The long-standing partnership between Jamaica and Japan has yielded significant benefits towards building efficient equipment and human-resource capabilities in the field of disaster-risk management," he said.
Senior director at the ODPEM Michelle Edwards said that "the manual is designed to promote a sense of responsibility and ownership of disaster-preparedness programmes among the general public".
She said that it would be made available for sale at a cost of $300, with the proceeds to go towards setting up a community vulnerability fund. "Part of the proceeds will go towards benefitting vulnerable groups," Edwards said.
A limited free-distribution scheme is available for government agencies and non-governmental organisations.
The manual will form part of Jamaica's exhibition at the 3rd United Nations World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction in Sendai, Japan, from March 14-18.
A delegation led by Arscott will attend the conference.