Canada-Funded Project Boosting Disaster Management in Jamaica

June 13, 2016 @ 3:43 pm – 3:43 pm

APPROXIMATELY 300 volunteers were trained to operate an emergency telecommunications system during natural disasters under an initiative funded by the Canadian Government and rolled out by non- profit organisation Abacus for Communities in partnership with the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management and Parish Development Committees.Canada supports the project through the Disaster Responsive Management Fund — a local responsive fund designed to support Caribbean-based non-governmental organisations, community groups, and government agencies wishing to undertake small-scale projects at the community level to tangibly reduce the risks from natural hazards (example, floods, droughts, storms, and hurricanes) and climate change.Last year, Abacus for Communities received grant funding to implement disaster risk-reduction projects in Jamaica.Under its project Community Emergency Communications for Natural Disaster and Climate Change Adaptation, assistance was provided to ten communities in Portland, St Mary and St Thomas where 186 women and 120 men received training on how to use the radios and to be emergency responders in their communities. Some 120 radios and bay stations including repeaters were shared among the communities.This support for non-governmental organisations, community groups, and governmental agencies working at the community level to reduce risks associated with natural hazards and climate change is part of Canada’s overall $600-million Caribbean-wide development assistance programme.Speaking recently at a closing ceremony, Counsellor and Head of Development Cooperation Walter Bernyck lauded the project’s organisation and success, and noted that “taking action to reduce the effects of climate change is a major priority of the Government of Canada”.The effects of climate change, such as changing weather patterns and rising sea levels, he said, directly jeopardise livelihoods, health and security.“Climate change has the potential to roll back economic and social gains and increase poverty. For this reason, Canada’s development assistance focuses on areas where Canada can make the most difference. We are therefore pleased to have been able to support these communities in building their capacity to better respond to disaster,” he said. Re-posted from: