Today marks the second anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake which struck Haiti. It was reported that the epicenter of the quake was approximately 10 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince, the country's capital. The quake was considered the worst in the region in more than 200 years and a study by the Inter-American Development
Bank estimated that the total cost of the disaster was between $7.2 and $13.2 billion USD, based on a death toll from 200,000 to 250,000 persons.
Jamaica, the Sub-Regional focal point for the coordination of the response efforts spearheaded the CARICOM operations. The Office of the Prime Minister then mandated the Office of Disaster Preparedness & Emergency Management ODPEM to be the central coordinating agency in Jamaica for all disaster relief supplies including donations (cash/kind) for the then Help Haiti initiative.
The ODPEM collaborated with a number of governmental and non governmental agencies to coordinate the distribution of the disaster relief supplies and encouraged Jamaicans to volunteer their services and make the necessary donations to the Haitian victims.
Given the country’s proximity Jamaica and Haiti shares the same fault line known as the Enriquillo Plantain Garden Fault Zone. Researchers have indicated that there is a potential for a magnitude 7- 7.5 occurring anywhere along this fault zone. With this knowledge the ODPEM continues its public education campaign of Earthquake
Awareness Week (EAW) 2012 from January 8 to 14, 2012 under the theme “Earthquakes can strike anywhere, anytime. Be prepared there are no signs.”
During this week the ODPEM team has been traveling to a number of parish councils islandwide to lend its support to promote earthquake awareness through presentations, exhibitions and earthquake drills. In addition, the ODPEM in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Jamaica Library Services has requested that schools and
libraries islandwide erect an earthquake theme exhibition within its institutions during the week.
This annual event is aimed at increasing the general awareness and encouraging Jamaicans to implement more active earthquake preparedness measures to effectively reduce our risk to this unpredictable hazard.