ODPEM/DFID to Assist 1500 Families in Eastern Jamaica Recover From Effects of Tropical Storm Gustav

Approximately 1500 families from select communities in eastern Jamaica will be getting much-needed assistance from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) to conduct repairs to their homes damaged by Tropical Storm Gustav in August 2008. This initiative, which is supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), will be undertaken at a cost of £500,000 and will also seek to enable these families to be better prepared against future natural hazards.

Most of the houses to be repaired are located in low-income communities in Portland, St. Andrew, St. Mary and St. Thomas. The type of damage sustained by these houses ranged from the total loss of roofing or major roofing damage to significant damage to outer walls. Assessments conducted after the storm found that the use of poor building materials, incorrect fastenings or inadequate maintenance contributed to much of this damage.  Research confirms that this profile is consistent with informal building or self-build patterns found in low-income communities throughout Jamaica.

Building Hazard Resistant Communities

The joint ODPEM/DFID Safer Housing project for select communities will:

  • Repair and retrofit up to 1500 severely damaged homes using safer building techniques and project materials.
  • Provide informal builders and householders with training and techniques in how to incorporate hazard resistant roofing and construction standards in self-help housing.
  • Provide communities, house-owners and artisan builders with an overview of hazard effects on buildings, through a National Hazard Awareness Campaign focusing on Safer Building Practices.

The ODPEM’s Director General, Mr. Ronald Jackson, notes that DFID’s financial commitment to this project will be used to allow vulnerable communities and households improve their own resilience and safety, keeping with the organization’s strategic objectives for 2008-2011.

“This project offers the opportunity to build more hazard resistant communities and to demonstrate the effectiveness of incorporating risk reduction into recovery plans. Through this intervention, we hope to reduce the level of damage experienced in this sector for the 2009 Hurricane Season.” Jackson said.

While the project is intended to employ self-help methods during the repair process, assistance will be provided for elderly and disabled householders who are not able to undertake physical activities. The Project will be implemented over nine months, beginning in February 2009.  The ODPEM will be responsible for project implementation, monitoring and evaluation.

Contact: Kerry-Ann Morris, kmorris@odpem.org.jm