Helping Jamaica prepare for disasters

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Kingston, Jamaica (December 18, 2014) – Habitat for Humanity, with funding from the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA-USAID), will help three of the most vulnerable communities in Jamaica to create development plans and prepare for disaster risk reduction.

Thanks to the “Building Resilience and Capacities for Emerging Disasters” (BRACED) project, more than 65,000 people from Gregory Park, Newlands and Naggo Head, in the Portmore municipality, will be able to prepare for hazards such as hurricanes and tropical storms (with associated flooding and ground-water contamination), as well as seasonal droughts exacerbated by poor land management practices.

The $1.5 million project will span 33 months and help Jamaicans to:

· Increase structural resilience and decrease vulnerability to hazards through community-based redevelopment: 550 shelters will incorporate Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) measures; 12 community mitigation activities or infrastructure will be strengthened; 720 people will improve their shelter and DRR knowledge; and 600 houses will be geo referenced moving forward in their land formalization.

· Improve sanitation assets in the most vulnerable neighborhoods that face flood risk and train 600 people in hygiene promotion.

· Reinforce community coalitions and risk reducing redevelopment initiatives through sustainable and meaningful public-private partnerships.

“This project is not a handout of goods or services, but seeks to work with the communities in prioritizing what are the essential elements that would help them become truly resilient. To this end, we must identify vulnerabilities and hazards, followed by the strategic use of all resources and capacities available to the community”, said Irvin Adonis, BRACED project manager.

To achieve these actions, Habitat for Humanity Jamaica will work with local key partners: Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), West Indies University, Jamaican Red Cross, Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management, Caribbean Cement Company Limited, local and central government entities, among others.

This project falls within the framework of the Caribbean Strategy, established by Habitat for Humanity to support Caribbean countries most affected by disasters every year.

About Habitat for Humanity International

Habitat for Humanity International’s vision is a world where everyone has a decent place to live. Anchored by the conviction that safe and affordable housing provides a path out of poverty, since 1976 Habitat has helped more than 5 million people through home construction, rehabilitation and repairs and by increasing access to improved shelter through products and services. Habitat also advocates to improve access to decent and affordable shelter and offers a variety of housing support services that enable families with limited means to make needed improvements on their homes as their time and resources allow. As a nonprofit Christian housing organization, Habitat works in more than 70 countries and welcomes people of all races, religions and nationalities to partner in its mission. To learn more, donate or volunteer, visit habitat.org...