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Jamaica’s Governor General urges Caribbean Countries to strengthen disaster management efforts

MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica – Governor General His Excellency, the Most Hon. Professor Kenneth Hall, has called on Caribbean states to place greater focus on avoiding the consequences of natural hazards, such as hurricanes, by intensifying disaster mitigation programs.

Professor Hall made the call during his address at the opening ceremony for the Insurance Association of the Caribbean’s 26th Annual Conference at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Montego Bay on Sunday (June 4).

The Governor General noted that Caribbean countries needed to redouble their efforts in the areas of disaster management, given the occurrences of loss of lives and damage to properties and the projected increased frequency and intensity of hurricanes and floods.

“We in this Caribbean region have every reason to be concerned about our future and so we must implement those policies that can give us at least a fighting chance in the future. it is clear that the implementation of a successful strategy of disaster management in the Caribbean, will depend on the increased efforts on the part of governments, the private sector and especially all participants in this conference,” he told the audience.

Professor Hall further challenged individuals to contribute to awareness programs in their respective countries. This he stressed was in the best interests of Caribbean countries.

“All of the individuals in this conference, in this country and in this region, can contribute to the effort by engaging in practices that minimize flooding such as proper garbage collection and disposal, where homes are built and how they are built,” he stated, adding that one of the areas often ignored, and which had serious consequences, was “simply paying attention to hurricane and disaster warnings”.

He emphasized that paying attention to these warnings was a critical part of disaster preparedness education programs. “I am suggesting that in order to survive hurricanes, a regional approach be taken. Creating meaningful relevant regional institutions will give us at least the framework for addressing our collective concerns,” the Governor General pointed out.

Professor Hall urged citizens to seek to reduce dangerous emissions into the atmosphere that could contribute to global warming, which triggered such hazards as hurricanes.

“It is for this reason, within the framework of the United Nations Convention on Climate Change that more and more emphasis is being placed on the reduction of emissions into the atmosphere.

We in this region have every reason, not only to subscribe to it, but we must be advocates for the reduction of emissions into the atmosphere that can lead to global warming,” the Governor General said.

More than 600 delegates from 254 companies and 33 countries are participating in the four-day conference, which is being held under the theme ‘O Katrina. We must survive’.

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