Then and now: A 30-year journey from the 'leading edge'

  • Jones E
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Abstract

A fledgling disaster management organization in 1984, Jamaica's Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODP) hosted the pioneering international disaster mitigation conference to share information and to contemplate how vulnerability to disasters from natural hazards could be reduced. Over the period 1979?2009, the overall focus of the agency was response, given the plethora of extreme events, and the priority of the Government of Jamaica. The organization was associated with several efforts at disaster mitigation, but the need for building the agency's capacity to lead national efforts to integrate mitigation planning into development did not seem to gain traction among the policy makers. Growing losses since 2004, the evidence of climate change and the need for adaptation, and the regional and international disaster risk management agenda have brought attention to the need for review and development of Jamaica's disaster risk management capacity. This paper examines highlights of the 30-year journey of disaster management in Jamaica, and highlights proposals for strengthening the national framework and the organizational structure of ODPEM.
A fledgling disaster management organization in 1984, Jamaica's Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODP) hosted the pioneering international disaster mitigation conference to share information and to contemplate how vulnerability to disasters from natural hazards could be reduced. Over the period 1979?2009, the overall focus of the agency was response, given the plethora of extreme events, and the priority of the Government of Jamaica. The organization was associated with several efforts at disaster mitigation, but the need for building the agency's capacity to lead national efforts to integrate mitigation planning into development did not seem to gain traction among the policy makers. Growing losses since 2004, the evidence of climate change and the need for adaptation, and the regional and international disaster risk management agenda have brought attention to the need for review and development of Jamaica's disaster risk management capacity. This paper examines highlights of the 30-year journey of disaster management in Jamaica, and highlights proposals for strengthening the national framework and the organizational structure of ODPEM.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Comprehensive disaster management
  • Flood
  • Hurricane
  • Jamaica
  • Training

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Authors

  • Eleanor B. Jones

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