Sat | Oct 20, 2018

Jamaica's disaster resilience hindered by lack of funding - ODPEM head

Published:Friday | April 13, 2018 | 12:00 AMJodi-Ann Gilpin/Gleaner Writer
From left: Una-May Gordon, director of the climate change division, chats with Bruna Pouzat, the United Nations Representative; and Major Clive Davis, director general, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, at the launch, of the resilient islands project held at the Knutsford Court Hotel, yesterday.

Jamaica's efforts to be proactive in building its resilience to natural disasters has been severely hampered by the unwillingness of local and international partners to provide funding support in a timely manner.

Major Clive Davis, director general at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), told The Gleaner yesterday during the launch of the resilient islands project that partners were more forthcoming after an event has occurred. But this practice, he pointed out, was not ideal for proper climate change adaptation strategies.

"I find it interesting that there are occasions when we reach out to communities - local and international - and we say, 'Here we have something (a project) that we would like to do', and we are told that there are budgetary constraints," Davis said. "Then, unfortunately, we have an incident, and the ports are filled," he said.

He said that he was longing for the day when Jamaica was more focused on prevention than reacting to a disaster.

"My dream is that when there is an event coming, ODPEM and its partners should be able to close up the office. We should be able to do so much prevention and public education that a storm passes and we (are able to) get up the next morning and are ready to go again," Davis declared.