Thu | Dec 12, 2019

Jamaica strengthening disaster resilience under US$30-million project

Published:Tuesday | March 13, 2018 | 12:00 AM
General Manager for Technical Services at Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF), Loy Malcolm (right), hands over a digitiser and other equipment to Network Manager at the Earthquake Unit, University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, Paul Williams, to strengthen Jamaica’s seismic monitoring capacity. Looking on are Environment and Project Officer at JSIF, Stacey-Anne Preston (left); and Marketing and Communications Consultant, JSIF, Andrea C. Whyte (second left).


Jamaica's resilience to disaster and climate risk is being strengthened through various activities and initiatives being undertaken as part of the Disaster Vulnerability Reduction Project (DVRP).

The project, which is being implemented by the Jamaica Social Investment Fund (JSIF) from 2016 to 2022, is funded by the Government of Jamaica through a loan agreement with the World Bank valued at US$30 million.

General Manager for Technical Services at JSIF, Loy Malcolm, said by virtue of its location, is vulnerable to hurricanes, earthquakes, sea level rise and all the other issues that come about with climate change.

As such, the various deliverables to be implemented under the project are intended to reduce disaster and climate vulnerability by making infrastructure developments more resilient.

Malcolm said it will improve the capacity of government institutions to generate and use hazard and risk information to inform national planning and will also focus on increasing awareness about disaster-risk reduction, building resilience and emergency management.


The project deliverables to be undertaken over the six-year period include the development of a National Risk Information Platform (NRIP), which will allow all risk data to be located and updated in a centralised platform available to government agencies and the public.

"The DVRP is an example of collaboration and partnership across agencies and ministries, so it is critical that we mainstream across agencies the ability to use data to inform the development decisions that we make as a country," the General Manager points out.

Already under the project, JSIF has provided well-needed equipment to the Earthquake Unit at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, which will strengthen its ability to monitor and respond to seismic activity.

This initiative, valued at $83 million, includes10 digital seismometer systems that provide data on an earthquake's magnitude, depth and epicentre; 30 accelerographs to be placed at seismic stations, hospitals and schools, to measure the horizontal force acting on a building; and 72 Ethernet radios with antennae, which will transmit data in real time from seismic stations to the Central Recording Station at UWI.

The Earthquake Unit will also receive software, computer server and network-attached storage, in addition to laboratory equipment such as portable oscilloscope, spectrum analyser and multiplexer.