Fri | Sep 22, 2017

Funding In Place for Earthquake Recovery Efforts

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

In the event that Jamaica experiences a major earthquake this year, there are several mechanism in place to provide funding for recovery efforts.

?There are a few systems that we have in place to support us in the event of any emergency situation,? Major Clive Davis, director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) said as he addressed the press conference to launch earthquake awareness month.

The National Disaster Fund would be the first port of call for funds to assist recovery efforts.

The National Disaster Recovery Fund is a disaster management fund established by the Government of Jamaica in 2008 following the extensive damage done to the island following Hurricane Gustav. The fund is intended to improve and enhance the efficiency of healthcare, emergency services and education in Jamaica.

Concerns about the amount of money in the fund were addressed by Davis, who noted that the passing of the Disaster Risk Management Act last year will see to the growth of the fund given the requirements that the Act imposes on the Government in respect of monies to be paid into the fund.

In July of last year the fund stood at $250 million, an amount which Local Government Minister, Noel Arscott said was inadequate in the event of a major disaster.

According to the ODPEM head, ?the national disaster fund ... is not a lot of money at this point in time. The fund though based on the new Disaster Risk Management Act is poised to grow and will continue to grow out of the annual government subvention.

At the regional level, Jamaica?s involvement in the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CEDEMA) will allow for the country to tap into the funding mechanism of that organisation.

?Beyond that we are also a part of a regional insurance type programme called Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CRIF) which is meant to come into play in the event of a major earthquake; that is monies that would be coming into the Government to respond to that situation,? the ODPEM Director General explained.

Funds from international development partners and other specialised funding will also be available to the country.

?There is an arrangement which we are getting into just about now, which although the funding that is being provided is centred all around disaster risk management across the island, if there were to be an emergency situation at this time that fund could become available almost immediately to go into response and reconstruction and that is funding through one of the international agencies,? Davis said.