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ODPEM head points out major weaknesses in disaster preparedness

Published:Tuesday | July 4, 2017 | 7:19 PM
Major Clive Davis

The head of one of Jamaica’s main disaster response agencies has highlighted a slew of weaknesses across Government which places Jamaicans at risk.

Major Clive Davis, the director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), was speaking at a town-hall meeting in May Pen, Clarendon, last evening.

He says he’s not convinced Jamaica is short on resources to respond to disasters.

But he says there is simply not enough coordination between the relevant agencies.

 

Major Davis also said new legislation has placed an exceptionally heavy load on the municipal corporations.

He says the Disaster Risk Management Act of 2015 has made the corporations the central disaster risk management agency for each parish.

However, he says the responsibility is too great and it is impossible for many of the responsible public officials to do their jobs:

 

Director general of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, major Clive Davis

In the meantime, Major Davis has criticised the performance of municipal authorities in the granting of building permits.

He notes that while many times the central government bypasses the local authorities in approving construction, the local authorities are also failing to ensure buildings are only built in appropriate areas.

Davis says this is why many buildings are susceptible to flooding and landslides.