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Disaster Risk Reduction & Energy Resilience

Speeches Shim

Promote Jamaica’s disaster preparedness capabilities and other interventions that strengthen energy resilience.
USAID/Jamaica’s investments will balance the priorities of Jamaica’s disaster preparedness capabilities and other interventions that strengthen energy resilience.

Jamaica’s vulnerability to natural disasters threatens to undermine many of the advances it has made.  To prevent that from happening, USAID assistance to Jamaica is focused on disaster risk financing, which helps offset the costs of disasters, and increases the Jamaican energy sector’s resilience to natural disasters.

When a disaster disrupts electrical grids or water distribution systems, critical infrastructure – such as hospitals, shelters, police stations, fire stations, military installations, communications relays and command centers—may be impaired and not able to deliver vital, life-saving services. For hospitals, a power outage means lung machines stop, vaccines and insulin degrade without refrigeration, and operating rooms fall dark.  Because almost all water is pumped with electricity in Jamaica, a power outage also often means a water cutoff—which compounds post-disaster problems. Thus, sites such as hospitals and shelters must have uninterrupted power to be able to respond to emergency and ongoing critical needs right after a disaster.

Recognising this vulnerability, USAID will be focusing on building energy resilience in Jamaica. USAID assistance will unlock the private sector’s ability to strengthen Jamaica’s energy sector in the face of natural disasters. This includes improving the enabling environment for renewable energy markets, promoting energy efficiency and diversification, and increasing the ability of critical energy infrastructure to withstand and recover from natural disasters. USAID programming is centered on Jamaica leading the partnership, as work in both areas supports the priorities, plans and existing efforts by the government to decrease its vulnerability to natural disasters.

In order to prepare for, and adapt to extreme weather patterns and changing conditions, USAID is supporting the government’s efforts to develop and implement a disaster risk financing framework. Through the mechanism of a Catastrophe Bond for natural disasters, this will help support Jamaica’s self-reliance by mitigating the chances that a natural disaster will incapacitate the Government’s ability to continue to invest in its own development or maintain development gains achieved to date. It will provide Jamaica with a capital markets source of disaster insurance against impacts caused by hurricanes. 

The bond was issued by the World Bank in June 2021 with a grant of $5 million from USAID and  $14 million leveraged from other donors.  The bond protection against financial losses stemming from natural disasters is $185 million.

The growing capabilities of Jamaica’s disaster response infrastructure already enables it to help other Caribbean countries in times of need. USAID will seek opportunities to further Jamaica’s role as a regional leader.

Last updated: January 18, 2022

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