Fri | May 26, 2017

Eastern Parishes on High Alert

Published:Tuesday | January 10, 2017 | 1:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin
Carlton Black (right) removing bush from a section of the walkway adjacent the earthquake monument for the victims of the 1907 earthquake in Greenwich Town, Kingston. Friday will mark the 110th anniversary of the disaster.
Karleen Black, scientific officer, earthquake Unit.
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A recent assessment of earthquakes and Jamaica's preparedness has highlighted the eastern part of the island's susceptibility to that kind of the disaster, as of the seven tremors that were felt since the start of the year, six occurred in that region.

That revelation came from Karleen Black, scientific officer at the Earthquake Unit, as she addressed an Awareness Press Conference which was held at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) offices in New Kingston yesterday.

She quickly noted that there is no need for persons in Eastern Jamaica to panic as the entire country was at risk. According to Black, the issue is compounded by the fact that there is a stark fear among citizens who are reluctant to be informed about the issue.

MORE ACTIVE AREA

"All of the island is susceptible because we have faults all across the country. The eastern areas, however, are more active. We detected about 256 in total and only 69 were local and of that seven were felt." she said.

"There are so many Jamaicans who, when I go out to do various events, they don't want to hear that word (earthquake), they are so afraid, they don't want to talk about it. What people don't realise also is that there are so many things that Jamaicans can do to prepare. You don't have to be rich, but simple things can be done in your home such as bolting down heavy furniture or putting heavy fixtures low to the ground," she said

Denzil Thorpe, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, who represented local government minister Desmond McKenzie said building breaches, if not addressed, would result in serious damage should an earthquake occur.

"Given their unpredictable nature, the best means of preparing for earthquakes include ensuring that buildings are properly constructed for residential and commercial purposes. Properly constructed not only means that the right materials are used but also that trained professionals are hired, who ensure that appropriate designs are prepared and permission is sought from the local authorities for construction to take place," he said.

jodi-ann.gilpin@gleanerjm.com