Mayor pledges Disaster Risk Reduction project will meet deadline

Observer writer

Monday, November 26, 2018

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SAVANNA-LA-MAR, Westmoreland — Savanna-la-Mar Mayor Bertel Moore has pledged to have a US$600,000 Community Disaster Risk Reduction project meet its December 2019 implementation deadline.

“We will work in every possible way to ensure that the project is completed on time, in the best way possible, and within the budget. That is very important that the project is completed within the budget, and it must be transparent,” Moore told the Jamaica Observer last Thursday.

He was attending the official launch and opening session of the Climate Change Adaptation and Risk Reduction Technology (CART) workshop at St George's Anglican Church Hall in Westmoreland.

The workshop was designed to examine the use of technology and strategies to improve community resilience.

The Community Disaster Risk Reduction project is being implemented by Caribbean Development Bank in partnership with the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation.

“I will be having my eyes open on every single aspect of the project, because it is not just the corporation, but you have to look at the communities,” the mayor added. “We want to ensure that we have youths involved in this project, because one of the biggest problems at present is youth employment.”

More than 34,000 residents from the communities of Llandilo Phase One, New Market Oval, and Russia are to benefit from the project.

Project manager at the Westmoreland Municipal Corporation Shadae Allen said the project entails the implementation of flood control dams, early warning systems, construction of shoreline protection structures, and the replanting of mangroves.

The communities are also expected to benefit from ornamental fish rearing and oyster farming. In addition, Allen said residents will be trained to build insect screens for doors and windows, as well as mesh covers for water-storage containers.

Inter-American Development Bank Procurement Policy Unit Head Douglas Fraser, in his remarks, noted that climate change affects women and men differently and as a result, the project should not only seek to identify, but address the needs and priorities of both groups. He said, too, that attention must also be placed on vulnerable groups.

Fraser said communities in the Caribbean are severely affected by climate change and severe weather events to include floods, landslides, storms, hurricanes, and droughts.

The University of the West Indies' climate studies group had forecast greater climate vulnerability, decrease in the rainy season, and an increase in the frequency of intense rainfall.

“Climate change will have severe impact on Jamaica's marine environment, particularly its coral reefs and mangroves,” Fraser said. “And given the importance of coastal areas to communities, there is a need for intervention that focuses on reducing risk by adapting to climate change. These issues, when combined, give you an idea why the CART project is so necessary and timely.”

Fraser said he was hoping that at the end of the 12 months the project would become a community-based demonstration project for the wider region, and that the lessons learnt will be shared with communities at the national and international levels.

A member of the Coke Street community, Bishop O'Neil Russell, pointed out that due to the depletion of the mangroves over the years to allow way for the construct of houses, “the area around us has diminished. So,the water continues to come in further. This programme is a very good programme for the community and it will benefit us in many different ways”, he said.

Member of Parliament for Westmoreland Central, Dwayne Vaz lauded the programme and said he was happy for the disaster warning, education, and risk-reduction components of the project.

He added that a number of communities in his constituency are impacted by flooding, resulting from rain and high sea tide.

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