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Information on disaster risk management: case study of five countries: Jamaica

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Information on disaster risk management: case study of five countries: Jamaica

Autor institucional: BID-NU. CEPAL. Subsede de México Physical Description: 114 p. : gráfs., maps., tabls. Editorial: ECLAC Date: December 2007 ECLAC symbol: LC/MEX/L.836


Jamaica, as a result of its location in the north-western Caribbean basin, is prone to numerous specific natural hazards. These include hurricanes, of which recent hurricanes experienced within the last few years (and in fact since 1988 with hurricane Gilbert), have reminded us of Jamaica's great vulnerability to the effects of this hazard. Next, it is also envisaged that a large earthquake could do considerable damage to sectors of the population and to infrastructure and could result in displacement and homelessness among large sections of the population, particularly in the highly urbanized areas of the Kingston Metropolitan Area (KMA). These two hazards, though perhaps not the most frequent, have the potential to do the most widespread damage to the population and to infrastructure. Floods are the most frequently occurring natural hazard in Jamaica, and are often linked with severe weather systems, frontal systems and troughs, and less often with hurricanes and storms. Next to floods, landslides are the most frequently occurring hazard for Jamaica. Tsunami events appear to be very infrequent around the coastline of Jamaica. Events have been recorded however, in 1755 and more recently in 1907.  In all, over 300,000 references on the general topic of disaster risk were found to exist. It is therefore clear that there is abundant data dealing with this issue. Largely due to the fact that these documents have been produced through research initiatives, or as commissioned studies, the quality of the data appears to be quite rich. With respect to the accessibility of these data, in the Jamaican context the central storage locations are primarily at ODPEM and at CARDIN.  The awareness of the public to floods is evident, as they are described in much detail after each occurrence in the visual and written media. In recent years a trend has been evident in which victims of flooding have either requested relocation or have agreed to relocation. It is clear that these residents have developed a full perception of this hazard, its possible effect (vulnerability) and the degree of loss likely to be experienced in the future and have decided not to accept the level of risk involved in remaining at the vulnerable location. From the perspective of hurricanes, hurricane Gilbert in 1988 and Ivan in 2004 have done much to sensitize the populace about the risks and vulnerabilities associated with this hazard. The threat of earthquakes, which has held a less prominent position in the public consciousness, has been boosted through the holding of simulation exercises that have been portrayed in the media.