ODPEM Strengthening Earthquake Preparedness and Response Capacities UncategorizedJanuary 13, 2008 RelatedODPEM Strengthening Earthquake Preparedness and Response Capacities RelatedODPEM Strengthening Earthquake Preparedness and Response Capacities RelatedODPEM Strengthening Earthquake Preparedness and Response Capacities Advertisements FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) is strengthening its preparedness and response capacities in the event of a major earthquake.Director General of the agency, Ronald Jackson, who was addressing a press conference on (Jan.11) at ODPEM’s Camp Road offices to launch Earthquake Awareness Week, said that the agency has been partnering with a number of international and regional agencies, and “we will be continuing our search and rescue capacity building, which we started two years ago and the training will continue”.Stating that “we are also currently in discussions with the German Embassy here to carry out canine rescue training,” he explained that “in the event a collapsed structure, the greatest chance for survival is to be able to sense where bodies are located and we are hoping to get that off the ground towards the end of this year.”The ODPEM is also working to enhance the national capacity to provide shelter and relief support for massive displacement, Mr. Jackson informed.He told journalists that there are plans to finalise a national building code. “Kingston is already dense and populated in terms of its buildings, some of which may very well have been constructed to the capacity to withstand certain ground acceleration, others may not,” he pointed out.The Director General indicated that as part of the development approval process, the agency will be developing multi-hazard maps, including that of earthquakes, and providing training in mass casualty.In relation to tsunamis, Mr. Jackson said that in the event that one occurs, a good communication system must be in place.“In that regard, we are working with our communication partners and others to see if we can institute a means of texting as a system of early warning. So we are seeking to address a number of the areas,” he noted.Earthquake Awareness Week is being observed from January 13 to 19 under the theme: ‘For safety sake, be ready for the next earthquake’.Activities include earthquake drills and presentations, as well as expositions in communities islandwide. The week will commence with a special service at the St. Andrew Parish Church, which has existed since 1655, and has withstood numerous catastrophic events, including earthquakes.The week of activities are being planned in conjunction with the Parish Councils, the Ministry of Education and the Jamaica Library Service, as well as businesses, civic and community-based organizations.
Vital Signs: Janet Yellen, very model of a modern Madam Secretary Janet Yellen is the perfect choice to tackle the worst economic crisis in a century, and the problems that lie beyond.It is widely tipped that US president-elect Joe Biden will nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary – one of the most important posts in any administration.She will make for a terrific Treasury Secretary, bringing with her a wealth of experience and a lot of IQ points. Her appointment also signals what kind of president Biden is likely to be.Yellen (born August 13, 1946) comes with impeccable credentials. She received her PhD in economics from Yale under Nobel-prize-winning economist James Tobin. She was on the faculty at Harvard and for a long time at the University of California, Berkeley. She was chair of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Bill Clinton and went on to be president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank.President Barack Obama nominated her in 2010 to be vice-chair of the US Federal Reserve. In 2013 she succeeded Ben Bernanke to become the Fed’s 15th chair.With apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan, she is the very model of a modern policy maker.A centrist and experienced administratorYellen is in many ways a traditional centre-left economist. Her academic work focused mainly on imperfections in labour markets and how unemployment can arise.One of her best-known papers concerns how workers will put in less effort if they think they are being paid below what they consider to be a “fair” wage.As chair of the Federal Reserve, given the tough position the US economy was in, Yellen used monetary policy in a conventional and aggressive way – much like her more conservative successor Jerome Powell has done.But she also championed tougher financial regulation and emphasised that economic inequality was not merely an intrinsic concern but could be a drag on economic growth.The Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen testifies at a hearing of the Federal Reserve Board Joint Economic Committee in November 2017, Jacquelyn Martin/APThough Yellen is in every way an excellent choice to head the US Department of the Treasury, Biden had other options.He was under pressure to nominate someone much further to the left. Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of Biden’s rivals for the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries, reportedly wanted the job herself – although to her credit she has praised Yellen as “an outstanding choice” in recent days.Yellen may believe in tougher financial regulation, but Warren would have been more than that; she has called the business of Wall Street “legalised looting“, indicated her desire to destroy the entire private equity industry, and to impose a wealth tax of 6% a year – enough to destroy capital accumulation, if not capitalism itself.All of this signals that Biden, in eschewing the more radical Warren, is (a) not crazy, and (b) planning to run a centrist administration.The importance of the Treasury SecretaryIt is hard for Australians to understand just how important the role of Treasury Secretary is in the US government. Yes, the role of Australia’s federal treasurer is regarded as second only to the Prime Minister, but that is in the context of cabinet government with an expenditure review committee.By contrast, the US Treasury Secretary (with the support of the US president) wields almost unfettered economic authority.That might be a blessing and a curse for Yellen, for she will take office with the US in the worst economic shape since the Great Depression.From day one the whole Biden administration, Yellen included, will face huge challenges.First, it must get the COVID-19 pandemic – now running rampant – under control. As any amount of international evidence has shown, one can’t have a functioning economy during a pandemic.Pandemic control itself will not be Yellen’s job. But what will be immediately important, and within her purview, is getting Congress to pass a stimulus package to boost the US economy while the virus is brought under control through various measures – perhaps even including the rollout of a vaccine.That will be no easy task. Republicans in “red” states that have set aside so-called “rainy-day funds” feel loathe to fund what they basically see as a bailout to Democratic “blue” states who haven’t done the same. Senator Mitt Romney made exactly this point when talking to CNN podcast host and former Obama advisor David Axelrod last week.Beyond the immediate coronavirus response, Yellen will also face big challenges – perhaps the most vexing ones of all.Economic problems beyond the pandemicPrior to COVID-19, the US economy was in a low-growth, low-inflation funk. Something former treasury secretary Larry Summers has famously referred to as “secular stagnation“.This is where Janet Yellen, labour economist, may be just the person to be in charge of the treasury.What economists and policy makers alike still don’t understand is why the speed limit of the US (and other advanced) economies seems to have dropped. Why is it unemployment needs to be close to 3% to get wage growth moving in the US? Why is inflation persistently low even in the face of very loose monetary policy?This is also where Janet Yellen, former Fed chair, may also be the perfect person to be in charge. Thinking hard about how very low interest rates and fiscal policy interact in a practical way is a deeply important issue.Plenty of smart people are working on that problem, but there is something unique about a former Fed chair and current Treasury Secretary marshalling an effort to provide a better understanding of this interaction.When Biden officially announces (and the Senate confirms) Yellen’s appointment, we can look forward to one of the great economic policy makers of our time helping to deal with some of the most pressing challenges of our time.Richard Holden, Professor of Economics, UNSWThis article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article. /Public Release. This material comes from the originating organization and may be of a point-in-time nature, edited for clarity, style and length. View in full here. Why?Well, unlike many news organisations, we have no sponsors, no corporate or ideological interests. 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