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Jamaica is the best prepared it has ever been to respond to a natural disaster, says Local Government and Community Development Minister, Hon. Desmond McKenzie.

Addressing a meeting of the National Disaster Risk Management Council (NDRMC) at the Ministry’s offices on Hagley Park Road in Kingston on Monday (July 1), Mr. McKenzie said the Government’s investment in strengthening Jamaica’s disaster preparedness and response infrastructure has placed the island in a good position to handle severe weather events.

“Jamaica has never been in a better place to respond to a disaster than we are today. The country is not short of resources – human and other forms – to respond to the crisis that is pending. We have been very proactive,” he said.

Noting that the National Disaster Fund totals over $500 million, Mr. McKenzie said this now enables the country to act quickly in cases of emergency.

“Never before has the country had that level of resources to respond. The insurance policies and programmes that have been implemented by the Government, that will give the country the cushion to respond to various crises, are at an unprecedented high level,” he pointed out.

Minister McKenzie noted that significant resources have also been channelled to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) to respond effectively.

“We have taken the issue of disaster, especially leading up to this hurricane, very seriously,” he emphasized.

The NDRMC meeting was convened to coordinate response activities among emergency agencies in preparation for the anticipated impact of Hurricane Beryl.