Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller is urging Jamaicans to take seriously the theme of this year's Disaster Preparedness Month, 'Embrace Climate Change Realities .... Build Disaster Resilient Communities'.
In her message through the minister with responsibility for information, Senator Sandrea Falconer, Simpson Miller noted that many persons have not grasped the realities of climate change and therefore they need to become more aware in addition to learning how to minimise the impact on their communities.
Given during the launch of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) Disaster Preparedness Month at the St Luke's Church in St Andrew yesterday, the message outlined that the capacity of any community to become disaster resilient will depend on each person's actions.
"If we are to build disaster-resilient communities, then we must be mindful of our actions and how we affect others and our communities. I call on all Jamaicans to play their part in strengthening the capacity of their communities to become disaster resilient," she stated.
"Being prepared will not completely spare us the ravages of a disaster, but it will help to minimise the extent and severity of the damage."
Ronald Jackson, director general of ODPEM, said during the course of the month his office would be carrying out a series of events to help raise public awareness, as well as inform the public how to prepare and help mitigate the effects of a disaster, especially in vulnerable areas.
In his message to the congregation, the Reverend Dr Howard Gregory, bishop of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands, emphasised that each individual should see it as their duty to protect the environment that God left in their charge.
CAPTION: Noel Arscott (right), minister of local government and community development, greets Desmond McKenzie (left), opposition spokesman on urban renewal, rural development and local government, during a national church service in observance of Disaster Preparedness Month under the theme 'Embracing Climate Change Realities ... Build Disaster Resilient Communities'. Looking on are Senator Sandrea Falconer, minister of information, and Steadman Fuller, deputising for the governor general, who read the message on his behalf. The service was held at St Luke's Church in Cross Roads, St Andrew, yesterday. - Ian Allen/Photographer