CDEMA’s Sub Regional Focal Point, Jamaica in forefront of CARICOM’s response to Haiti

Bridgetown, Barbados, January 16, 2010 (CDEMA) - Jamaica is leading CARICOM’s response to the catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti. Within minutes of the earthquake Ronald Jackson, the Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), was in touch with CDEMA’s Headquarters in Barbados to discuss immediate actions that the CDEMA Sub-Regional Focal Point would take in response to the event.

Haiti is one of the five countries that comprise the Sub-Regional Focal Point for which Jamaica has the lead responsibility for immediate response within the CDEMA system.

Within 24 hours the Government of Jamaica dispatched a Jamaica Defence Force vessel with technical, medical and military personnel and relief supplies. This was followed by the Prime Minister, Bruce Golding’s, mission to Haiti on Thursday, January 14, for a first hand assessment of the situation. Jamaica is also the staging area for flights going into Haiti.

Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director of CDEMA has lauded the response by Jamaica. He said “ODPEM’s management of the Haiti earthquake emergency has demonstrated the full value of this element of the Regional Response System”.

“Jamaica’s presence on the ground has been instrumental in framing the focus and priority agreements for the community response”. Collymore said.

CARICOM has identified the Health Sector as the focus for the coordinated regional intervention.

As the community response effort to Haiti intensifies, the role of the Jamaica SRFP will become even more critical. The CDEMA Coordinating Unit will be providing additional human and financial support for its continued operations.

Note to Editors:
Sub-Regional Focal Point (SRFP) is a key element of the CARICOM regional response system. The SRFP is designed to provide for quick and immediate support actions to CDEMA participating States within the sub-regions. The four SRFPs of the CDEMA system are Antigua & Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. The countries comprising the sub-regional groupings are:

1. Antigua and Barbuda- Anguilla, Virgin Islands, Montserrat, St. Kitts/Nevis
2. Barbados- Dominica, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
3. Jamaica- Bahamas, Belize, Turks & Caicos Islands, Haiti
4. Trinidad and Tobago- Grenada, Guyana, Suriname

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