Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Desmond McKenzie, has expressed appreciation to the United States (US) for the assistance provided to the island over the years in the area of disaster and humanitarian response.
“We really appreciate the efforts of the United States,and we want to continue to forge that deep working relationship and to benefit from the expertise and any other such support,” he said.
Minister McKenzie was speaking at a meeting held at the Regional Office of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) in Panama on February 5.
The Minister led a local team in discussions with partners and stakeholders ahead of the upcoming 7th Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean.
Among the partners engaged was the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through its Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).
Minister McKenzie highlighted recent support provided to the Governmentthrough the United States Embassy in Kingston and the US military,and commended the country’s continued drive to assist.
Regional Coordinator for USAID/OFDA, Timothy Callaghan, in his response, said that “for us, it is a priority to not only support our friends here in risk reduction but we look for all opportunities we can to support countries.
“We do it through the UN system; we do it through non-government organisations. We all know the importance of preparing before an event; it is critical. It has been our pleasure to continue supporting lots of different activities to reduce risk throughout the region,”he noted.
The Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance is providing support for Jamaica’s staging of the seventh Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas and the Caribbean scheduled for July 7 to 10 in Montego Bay, St. James.
OFDA has committed financial and technical assistance for the staging of the Platform with particular focus on accessibility of vulnerable groups and input in thematic discussions around disaster risk reduction.