Jamaica’s communication capability before, during and after disasters is being significantly boosted through a J$1.6-billion (¥1.39-billion/US$12.58-million) grant from the Government of Japan.

Jamaica’s existing emergency communication network cannot currently be utilized to full capacity due to inadequate communication capacity and transmission range, and communications depend on transmission means limited primarily to e-mail and mobile telephony. When disasters have struck, the system has experienced lags in warning transmission and delays in ascertaining and responding to disaster conditions.

The provision, to be disbursed to the Government of Jamaica over four years, will be used to purchase and procure equipment and other inputs to implement the ‘Improvement of Emergency Communication System Project’.  It was facilitated through negotiations between the government and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

To be executed by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), the project will provide the platform for communications among critical government agencies, first responders, major stakeholders, auxiliary services and community volunteers.

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Finance and the Public Service Minister, Audley Shaw, and Japan’s Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Masanori Nakano, signed the grant agreement at the ministry’s National Heroes Circle offices in Kingston on Thursday, April 6.

Source: Jamaica Observer

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