We have enough money - ODPEM head
The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) has reported that enough money is available to fund pre- and post-emergency work for the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane Season.
"In our allocation from the Government this year, we have an adequate amount of money to do what we have to do," Major Clive Davis, director general of the ODPEM, disclosed during a Rotary Club of Kingston luncheon meeting held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel on Thursday.
"There is a national disaster fund that we can draw on, and there is also contingency funding that is held by the Ministry of Finance that will become available to us," Davis added.
The director general noted that the World Bank had rated Jamaica as the country that is third most exposed to multiple hazards in the world. He pointed to the bank's report that 87.7 per cent of our population is at risk from three or more hazards. But Davis said that all was not lost as Jamaica has one of the most-up-to-date laws in the form of the Disaster Risk Management Act of 2015.
"We are convinced at the ODPEM that we must continue to work to save lives. So we do not wait for the first of June to start programmes in disaster management or hurricane preparedness," said Davis.
"Our programmes are ongoing, and having learnt lessons from our neighbours after the events of 2017, we have put a number of programmes in place to make sure that if one of these beasts were to come our way, we would be able to effectively and efficiently manage that scenario," he added.
The ODPEM head disclosed that all 900 shelters across the island had been checked and inspected. There was no shortage of relief supplies, and all emergency responders were in place to operate if and when required. Davis, however, has urged individuals and business owners to start making their own preparation.
"Jamaicans have a very interesting way of operating. It's the night before, the last minute, but that response will not work.
"Those of you who are businessmen, what provisions do you have in place to get your businesses shut down and get them back up and running in no time? Those are not things that you can do the day before. Those are the things that have to be built into your system," Davis said.
He underscored that preparedness was important because the Government could not recover from an event without the private sector having recovered.
The hurricane season started on June 1 and will run until November 30.