Wow. What a weekend. Jamaica was spared the full impact of Hurricane Dean…praise God. Between the TV, phone, Email, Websites and Internet Radio it felt like I was right there. I was up late for the entire weekend but felt relieved to know that Jamaica did not get a direct hit.
The site was busy with activity as people tried to get news on the hurricane, information there friends & family and connect with each other. At one point there were over 1800 people viewing the website forums. I was a little concerned about the traffic affecting site performance but it worked out well. It was pretty amazing how Jamaicans from every where (Europe, ASIA etc) came together online to provide information and solace. Our forums can get very contentious at time but when there is an emergency the community quickly comes together.
I am proud of the way the Jamaican organizations in the diaspora have reacted. As the saying goes “fail to plan…plan to fail”. Well the Jamaicans organizations in diaspora started planning almost a week before the Hurricane Dean had its eye on Jamaica. We are able to post a list of these organization by last Wednesday.
They are the first responders to Jamaica when there is a disaster, however in the past the effort was very uncoordinated. Especially in the area of what is needed right after a disaster.
In the past people would take their “ole bruks” to a drop of point to be shipped to Jamaica because these organizations did not provide any guidelines. It seemed like an Hurricane was an opportunity to empty the garage or an area of the house packed with “ole bruks”. People were sending items that were just not needed. In the “rush” to help no one waited on the official assessments of the damage and what was needed.
It seems the organizations participating in the relief effort are marching to the same drum. They are in communication with the governmental agency assessing the damage and are very guarded in what they ask people to provide. There is a coordinated list of items and information is slowly come from one define source.
There are still a few “soapbox” individuals and organizations sending Erroneous information and/or boasting about being on TV etc but overall the effort (for now) seems to be one…