Preface This study was prepared for the Government of Jamaica following the significant physical damage and economic losses that the country sustained as a result of flood rains associated with the development of Hurricane Michelle. The Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ) submitted a request for assistance in undertaking a social, environmental and economic impact assessment to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on 14 November 2001. ECLAC responded with haste and modified its work plan to accommodate the request. A request for training in the use of the ECLAC Methodology to be delivered to personnel in Jamaica was deferred until the first quarter of 2002, as it was impossible to mount such an initiative at such short notice. This appraisal considers the consequences of the three instances of heavy rainfall that brought on the severe flooding and loss of property and livelihoods. The study was prepared by three members of the ECLAC Natural Disaster Damage Assessment Team over a period of one week in order to comply with the request that it be presented to the Prime Minister on 3 December 2001. The team has endeavoured to complete a workload that would take two weeks with a team of 15 members working assiduously with data already prepared in preliminary form by the national emergency stakeholders. There is need for training in disaster assessment as evidenced by the data collected by the Jamaican officials engaged in the exercise. Their efforts in the future will be more focused and productive after they have received training in the use of the ECLAC Methodology. This study undertakes a sectoral analysis leading to an overall assessment of the damage. It appraises the macroeconomic and social effects and proposes some guidelines for action including mitigating actions subsequent to the devastation caused by the weather system. The team is grateful for the efforts of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the associated government ministries and agencies, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), the Planning Institute of Jamaica and the Inter American Development Bank (IDB) for assistance rendered to the team. Indeed, it is the recommendation of the team that STATIN is poised to play a pivotal role in any disaster damage assessment and should be taken on board in that regard. The direct and indirect damages have been assessed in accordance with the methodology developed by ECLAC (1). The results presented are based on the mission's estimates. The study incorporates the information made available to the team and evidence collected in interviews and visits to affected locations. It is estimated that the magnitude of the losses exceeds the country's capacity to address reparations and mitigation without serious dislocation of its development trajectory. The government may wish to approach the international community for assistance in this regard. This appraisal is therefore designed to provide the government and the international community with guidelines for setting national and regional priorities in rehabilitation and reconstruction or resettlement programmes. A purely economic conception of the problem would be limited. A more integrated approach would have a human face and consider the alleviation of human suffering in the affected areas while attending to the economic and fiscal fallout of the disaster. Questions of improved physical planning, watershed management, early warning, emergency response and structural preparedness for evacuation and sheltering the vulnerable population are seen as important considerations for the post disaster phase. Special attention and priority should be placed on including sustainability and increased governance criteria in making social and productive investments, and on allocating resources to the reinforcing and retrofitting of vulnerable infrastructure, basic lifelines and services as part of the reconstruction and rehabilitation strategy. The Jamaican society and government face the opportunity of undertaking action with the benefit of revised paradigms, embarking on institutional, legal and structural reforms to reduce economic, social and environmental vulnerability. The history of flood devastation in the very areas of Portland and St. Mary shows a recurrence of flooding. Accounts of flooding from the earliest recorded accounts pertaining to 1837 are available. Recurrences in 1937, 1940, 1943 and 2001 indicate an ever-present probability of recurrence of similar events. The Government may wish to consider the probable consequences of a part of its population living in flood plains and address its position vis-à¶is land use and the probability of yet another recurrence of flood rains. (1) ECLAC/IDNDR, Manual for estimating the Socio-Economic Effects of Natural Disasters, May,1999.