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Disaster Management at the Community Level

National Zonal Programme

After Hurricane Gilbert in September 1988, the ODPEM felt that communities needed to be better prepared to react in a disaster. As such, the National Zonal Programme was put in place so that communities could manage internally for at least 72 hours until outside assistance could reach them following a disaster.

The Seventh Day Adventist Movement, through its Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), was identified and given the responsibility for providing leadership of the Zonal Programme in 1996.

This programme works by dividing the island into clusters of communities called zones, which are further divided into focal points. 

Communities across the island are divided into clusters called zones. A zone chairman, who gives information on disasters or potential disasters to the Parish Disaster Committees (PDCs), monitors each zone. The chairman must identify resource personnel, identify needed equipment for communities (e.g. radio, CB, cellular phones) and also identify other resources like backhoes and bulldozers.

In the event of a disaster, the zones will be the first group to render assistance. Information concerning what has occurred will be communicated from the zone headquarters, which would be located at a Seventh Day Adventist church hall or school. Whatever assistance is needed would be coordinated from that location. It would also be the distribution centre where other support agencies such as the Jamaica Red Cross (JRC), Salvation Army, and ADRA will give assistance to victims. 

The National Zonal Programme zones are further divided into focal points. The focal points operate on a smaller level to the zone and work along with the zone chairman.

Personnel at focal points should identify resources, ensure the availability of cellular phones, power saws and support personnel, e.g. nurses and doctors. 

Focal points will also communicate with zones regarding the state or level of disaster within their community.

National Zonal Committee

The National Zonal Committee is the coordinating body for the National Zonal Programme and is responsible for:

Citizens can assist and benefit from the National Zonal Programme by doing the following:

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