Thu | Aug 17, 2017

Jamaica's disaster response efforts strengthened by Japanese grant

Published:Friday | April 7, 2017 | 4:00 AMEdmond Campbell
Audley Shaw (second left), minister of finance and the public service; and Desmond McKenzie (left), minister of local government and community development greet Masanori Nakano (second right), ambassador of Japan to Jamaica; and Kenji Tobita, resident representative of the Japan International Cooperation Agency, at the Ministry of Finance yesterday.

Jamaica's disaster management systems yesterday received a significant boost with the Japanese Government providing nearly US$13 million in grant support for a project to improve the country's emergency communication network.

Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw and Japanese Ambassador Masanori Nakano signed the grant agreement yesterday at the Ministry of Finance, National Heroes Circle, in Kingston.

The grant will be made available to the Jamaican Government over a four-year period to finance the purchase of products and services necessary for the implementation of the project.

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management will implement the project.

Giving details of the project, Shaw said that it would provide a platform for emergency and disaster communication among various critical agencies of Government such as first responders, major stakeholders, auxiliary services, and community volunteers.

 

PROJECT DETAILS

 

He noted that the project was critical for the improvement of public security and safety, fire rescue, search and rescue, medical emergencies, evacuation planning, communication, and mobilisation.

In addition, the project is geared at improving communities and areas prone to flooding, storm surges, landslides, and other hazards.

In his comments, Nakano urged Jamaica to take the necessary steps to prepare for natural disasters by building "a disaster-resilient society to reduce damage to the maximum extent possible".

He also announced that the Japanese Government had donated three trucks valuing US$1 million. Two of the trucks have been assigned to the National Solid Waste Management Authority to assist in garbage collection.

 

Major components to be delivered under the project

 

- Integration of the National Works Agency microwave network for data communication.

- Disaster emergency communications infrastructure - installation of an emergency communication system at 24 repeater locations.

- Installation of early warning sirens at 15 locations in three communities.

- Provision of deployable equipment for vulnerable communities that have been declared disaster zones.

- Transportation radio equipment for two major cays: Pedro and Morant.

edmond.campbell@gleanerjm.com