ODPEM Government of Jamaica
Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
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Disasters Do Happen

"No one can totally prevent landslides, but you can avoid contributing to their causes. You can do things to protect your property from their effects and reduce your losses."

Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA)

Landslides are the most common natural hazard in Jamaica. Nevertheless, when natural disasters are mentioned, most people think about earthquakes, hurricanes or flooding rather than landslides. Even the historic records seem to indicate that landslides are less important than earthquakes, hurricanes or floods. In fact, they are often overlooked and forgotten because they frequently coincide with other disasters by which they are often triggered. Port Royal, for example, was almost wiped off the map when a major landslide triggered by the 1692 earthquake took a large part of the town below sea level.

Most people tend to regard landslides as accidents, as something that only happens to others because, in comparison with earthquakes, hurricanes and floods, landslides affect relatively small and sharply delineated areas. Landslides often move so slowly that even the people living in the affected area are not aware of it. They might only notice that from time to time, especially during or shortly after unusually wet periods, cracks develop in the walls of their dwelling. After a while they fix these cracks and forget about it.



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