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Argentina to Partner with Jamaica for National Volunteers' Disaster Response Programme

Published:Thursday | January 7, 2016 | 1:00 AM

Ambassador of Argentina to Jamaica Ariel Fernandez has promised that his country will be providing support to Jamaica's National Volunteers' Programme.

The volunteer programme is managed by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and seeks to train individuals in search-and-rescue operations in the event of an earthquake.

Speaking at the launch of Earthquake Awareness Month, Fernandez says that Argentina will be providing its expertise in organising volunteers to the ODPEM through the White Helmets Commission.

"For Argentina, it will be our pleasure to continue making our contribution to the Jamaican people," he said.

The White Helmets Com-mission is a body of the foreign affairs ministry in Argentina. It operates in tandem with the United Nations Volunteers programme.

White Helmets provide opportunities for volunteers from Latin America and other regions to assist in post-disaster relief and recovery efforts. Within 72 hours of a disaster, it can call on over 2,500 highly trained volunteers from other developing countries to serve in partnership with the United Nations Volunteers programme.

Should Jamaica experience a major disaster such as an earthquake, it will be able to call upon this extensive network of volunteers provided by White Helmets.

Officials from White Helmets visited the island last year to assist with the establishment of a database for the National Disaster-Risk Management Volunteers' Programme.

The database will be used to streamline volunteer registration, track emergency set-up or follow-up and provide real-time reporting and data analysis.

As Jamaica intensifies prepa-ration during Earthquake Aware-ness Month, White Helmets personnel will be providing training and capacity building support for the volunteers registered with the ODPEM.