Latest News

Emergency Communication System Proves Effective During Hurricane Beryl

JIS (July 5, 2024) –

The Disaster Emergency Communication System has proven effective in coordinating the activities of the national emergency management process.

Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, said the system, which was developed by the Government of Jamaica in partnership with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has allowed emergency responders to concentrate their efforts in those areas where these are urgently needed.

He was speaking with JIS News at the National Emergency Operations Centre at the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Kingston on Wednesday (July 3).

“We saw earlier on where information has been coming into the radio system about events taking place, and we were able to communicate in a meaningful way,” Mr. McKenzie said, noting that the technology has placed the ODPEM in a good position.

Noting the anticipated increase in severe weather events from climate change, Minister McKenzie said the Government’s investment in the national disaster resilience infrastructure remains a top priority.

The National Disaster Fund now totals more than $500 million.

“This is just a portion. We have the bonds, the various insurance policies that the Government has… that [will help] to safeguard us,” Mr. McKenzie said.

He advised that the Government’s overseas partners also stand ready to assist.

“There are the entities that [have indicated] they are willing to come in to help. Help is necessary. But I want to say that we are in a better place as a country to respond to disasters, and that has been demonstrated during the last couple of days into today,” Mr. McKenzie said.

In terms of shelters, approximately 488 persons across Jamaica have reported to established shelters, Acting Director General of ODPEM, Richard Thompson, informed.

“We have persons still making their way to the shelters. So these numbers will increase as we go on through the response operations,” he said.