Jamaican News

$350 Million in National Disaster Fund

A total of $350 million is now available in country’s National Disaster Fund, says Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

He was making his contribution to the 2017/18 Sectoral Debate in the House of Representatives today (April 19).

Established in 1995, the National Disaster Fund provides money to facilitate mitigation preparedness, rapid early response and recovery from disasters and other major incidents.

“We will work to ensure, along with the Ministry of Finance, that we increase the amount that is held in reserve,” the Minister said.

The establishment of the Fund forms part of the requirements under the Disaster Risk Management Act.

The Act seeks to strengthen the country’s overall national disaster preparedness, emergency management and response processes and mechanisms, and reflects modern, strategic, administrative and legal approaches consistent with current best practices.

In the meantime, he said there is to be a review of hurricane preparation and response, to include the rationalisation of Shelter Management and Operations, which will involve the Local Authorities and the Social Development Commission.

He thanked the men and women of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) for their continued commitment to service.

Mr. McKenzie also thanked the Japanese Government for providing a grant of US$12.6 million to develop a national emergency communication system to ensure real-time information flow between critical agencies of Government and volunteers.

The 23-month project seeks to develop a national early warning system and establish a nationwide digital radio communication system. It will also allow emergency response agencies and responders to communicate through a common wireless platform.

Article by: Chris Patterson
Photo from: www.jis.gov.jm

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