Warehouse Official Opening

Left to right: Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon Bruce Golding, Charge’ d’ Affaires, Mr. Isiah Parnell, US Military Liaison Office LTC Colonel Robert Wagner and the Director General of the ODPEM, Mr. Ronald Jackson officially opening the ODPEM’s Renewed Disaster Relief Warehouse

US Department of Defense Boosts ODPEM in Disaster Relief Preparations

The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) received a major upgrade to its Disaster Relief Warehouse and approximately nineteen thousand US dollars worth of emergency management equipment from the US Embassy Military Liaison Office in Collaboration with its Head Office US SOUTHERN COMMAND, located in Miami Florida.

At the official handing over and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the renewed warehouse held today at the ODPEM’s office the Prime Minister of Jamaica Hon. Bruce Golding along with the Charge’ D’ Affaires of the US Embassy, Isiah Parnel, US Military Liaison Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Robert Wagner and the Director General of the ODPEM, Mr. Ronald Jackson were all on hand to officially open the building. 

Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding said that with the renewed structure the ODPEM is now in a better position to coordinate relief efforts in the event of a disaster. He also thanked the US SOUTHERN COMMAND for their contribution to assist with implementing various disaster management measures that will support the ODPEM in its operations.

Charge’ D’ Affaires Isiah Parnel stated that “It is through this friendship, this partnership, we share that allows us to work together to overcome the challenges that we have faced and will continue to face.”  He continued, “One such challenge, or threat, is that of natural disasters, which have no regard for borders or the cost of human suffering they cause.  Such disasters require international partnerships before they happen in order to mitigate the cost of great human suffering.” 

The upgrade of the ODPEM’s warehouse is one aspect of the Warehouse Management Operations Project which is driven by the US SOUTHERN COMMAND Humanitarian Affairs Division.  This project comes a little over a month into the 2010 Hurricane season and includes a “Train the Trainer Certification Course” for Warehouse Management Training along with accompanying equipment which includes shelving, computer system, forklifts (manual and electric). In addition, training on how to use computer software and operate the machinery of new warehouse equipment and how to properly manage the warehouse. The project was carried out by Management Technical Services (Man Tech), a group of Management Technical International Corporation; and Sub-Contractors – Business Contingency Group.  This project totals over JA$27 Million. 

The end result of this project is expected to enhance capabilities of Jamaica disaster management-related systems, specifically material storage, distribution, transportation, command, control and communications and increase the availability of critical disaster relief items and ensure their serviceability to mitigate disaster situations. 

In the last two years, Jamaica has received a series of warehouse construction support from the US Department of Defense totaling over one hundred and sixty-five million Jamaican dollars.   

These projects should help to foster the development of regional cooperation and improving the capacity of Jamaica and the region to respond to humanitarian emergencies.