01.03.05. Environmental and infrastructural aspects | Jamaica

01.03.05. Environmental and infrastructural aspects | Jamaica

25 Sep 2022

The Jamaica Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) (2008) acknowledges the island’s vulnerability to environmental disasters such as hurricanes, earthquakes and floods as is the case for many Caribbean islands due to their small size or geographic location in relation to the region’s hurricane belt. The ODPEM also notes that the risk of natural disaster is further compounded by issues such as poverty, environmental degradation and poorly constructed housing and infrastructure. Jamaica’s experience of natural disaster can hinder and undermine its development due to the economic and social impact (PAHO, 1994).

A natural disaster can damage or destroy homes, businesses, schools, hospitals, hotels, and infrastructure like roads and electricity poles. It may impact a country’s rate of homelessness, unemployment, agriculture, imports and exports, and tourism. For example, the PIOJ (2013) report on the economic impact of Hurricane Sandy estimated that the total cost of direct and indirect damage caused was at $107.14 million USD. Banana farmers in 3 parishes lost between 93% and 100% of their crops that year; 8,000 cruise ship passengers were redirected away from scheduled docks on the island and 291 injuries were reported, as well as one fatality, which was an older person.


PAHO. (1994). A World Safe from Natural Disasters: The Journey of Latin America and the Caribbean. Available from: https://iris.paho.org/bitstream/handle/10665.2/34151/9275121141-eng.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y

Planning Institute of Jamaica (PIOJ). (2013). Damage and Loss Assessments: 2013 PIOJ Report Hurricane Sandy. Available from: https://www.pioj.gov.jm/product/damage-and-loss-assessments-2013-pioj-report-hurricane-sandy/