ODPEM Government of Jamaica
Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
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Hazard Mitigation Planning


What is Mitigation?

According the United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction (UN/ISDR) mitigation is defined as the lessening or limitation of the adverse impacts of hazards and related disasters. The adverse impacts of hazards often cannot be fully prevented, but their scale or severity can be substantially lessened by various strategies and actions. Mitigation measures encompass improved environmental policies and public awareness (non-structural measures) as well as engineering techniques and hazard-resistant construction (structural measures).

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What is the Value of Mitigation to the Jamaican Society?

  1. Mitigation creates safer communities by reducing losses of life and property and overall human suffering.
  2. Mitigation enables individuals and communities to recover more rapidly from disasters.
  3. Mitigation significantly reduces the need for large expenditure in the event of a national emergency

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Mitigation at Work

Hazard mitigation planning in Jamaica adopts a three-pronged approach targeting three distinct levels:

  1. Individual and community level:
Mitigation programmes convey an impassioned appeal to the individual to adopt basic mitigation strategies such as ensuring that roofs are reinforced with hurricane straps and retrofitting the home against hazards.
The community is also earmarked to promote the maintenance of localized areas such as keeping gullies free of debris, the protection of hillsides to prevent slope failure, and advocating for the cleaning of major drains in their communities.
Individual & Community Level Mitigation Projects in Focus:

Building Disaster Resilient Communities (BDRC)

Preparedness and Emergency Response Corp (PERC)

Protecting Children in Emergencies by Strengthening the Capacity of Schools and their Surrounding Communities to Respond to Disasters (Phases I & II)

Support to Community-Based Disaster Management

Tropical Storm Gustav Recovery Programme

  1. Parish level:
The ODPEM acts as a "watchdog" that encourages partner agencies and community organizations to incorporate mitigation in their planning. This activity also involves the local government structure through the Parish Councils where reminders are sent to the respective parishes requesting an identification of critical drains with a view to prioritizing drain cleaning exercises.
Parish Level Mitigation Projects in Focus:

Disaster Management Training for Parish Councils

Hazard/Risk Assessment for Portmore and Greater Portmore

  1. National level:
At the national level the ODPEM continues to be involved in the development of the National Mitigation Policy (Draft 1999) and projects that enhances the country's ability to proactively plan for disaster management and risk reduction.
Policy Highlight:

National Hazard Risk Reduction Policy for Jamaica (July, 2005)

National Level Mitigation Projects in Focus:

Natural Hazard Management in Urban Coastal Areas



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