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CDEMA promoting ‘all-hazards’ approach
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is promoting an “all-hazards” approach to disaster management.
So said Executive Director of CDEMA, Jeremy Collymore, during a press conference on the final day of the third Meeting of the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) of CDEMA, held at Savannah Hotel.
“The focus will be placed on looking at all the threats. We should be able to deal with all those strikes that come our way. We know our preparations are largely limited to hurricanes and sometimes not the biggest of those. Therefore, we are promoting an all hazards approach; we must be ready for even a tsunami which can be very devastating.”
According to Collymore, the current economic situation in the region should not derail the essence of a country’s readiness.
“It is not something that we can take off the front burner. Based on recent events we need to take into consideration the real catastrophic challenge – the disaster we never thought we would have.”
“We continue to call on states not to assume that the next event will be like the last. We are quite clear of the symptoms or the evidence of climate change. We are having high variability in the elements of our climate and our weather and we need to be able to respond.”
The Executive Director of CDEMA also revealed that through the meeting the committee agreed to endorse a Model Comprehensive Disaster Management Policy.
“This is important because it is setting the stage for guiding all the state activities so that we have a co-ordinated approach at the national level as it relates to risk reduction.”
“We also agreed on a set of protocols for using the roving technical support team. This was established based on the recognition that in many of the states the disaster offices do not have the range of competencies necessary to undertake the work, and this has been a major challenge over the years.”
“In addition, we have recognised the need for a more human resource focus in the country work programming. When we analysed what is happening in the states, there is a clear indication that organisations are focusing only on technical issues and not the foundational issues that allow them to deliver,” he stated.
Chairperson of the Technical Advisory Committee, Rosalie Adams, P.S. in Premiers office, Virgin Islands added that national governments are encouraged to have continuous simulations to always raise the standard of readiness.
“In the Virgin Islands we are used to simulations for tsunami, we would meet at a certain point but now we are seeing that these hazards are becoming larger, more intense, so we have raised the bar higher. These are the things we need to keep before our governments, so that they can see we are not only preparing moderately, we are preparing for the worst case scenario.”
“Meetings like these of the Committee help us to strengthen ourselves, cement these ideas so that as a region we continue to set the bar higher and higher. We might not be able to avoid but certainly prevent a number of the catastrophes that could happen,” she expressed. (TL)