According to a press release issued by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the exercise, dubbed the Earthquake Readiness Capacity Building Project, is being facilitated by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in conjunction with the Australian Government, among CDEMA member states.
The St. Kitts leg of the project – which will see the participation of 35 individuals – “will take place at NEMA’s Headquarters and 35 St. Kitts Nevis participants “will be fully engaged in reviewing a Model Earthquake Contingency Plan, for local adaptation and also in a table top simulation exercise to test aspects of the document, which will be finalised by the contracted consultant.
“The project seeks to enhance our region’s capacity to build resilience to the earthquake hazard and to better manage an impact, through contingency planning.”
The federation’s National Disaster Coordinator, Carl Herbert, while speaking exclusively with MiyVue.com explained that a workshop such as this is not to be taken lightly and that it would promote the overall NEMA theme of disaster preparedness.
“Some persons have the false notion that we are only threatened by or vulnerable to hurricanes. That’s not so because we are in a chain of islands in the Eastern Caribbean that are volcanic in nature and are seismically vulnerable; that is including earthquakes and tsunamis and so it is in that context that the workshop is being held.
“As you can recall, there have been earthquakes felt in and around St. Kitts over the years so the vulnerability is there. Through the Caribbean Disaster Emergency and Management Agency, countries will be engaged in a workshop in each territory to assist in the enhancement of the readiness, to build our capacity by way of the development of earthquake contingency plans. That is something that is important and necessary because unlike hurricanes which have a season, earthquakes have no season and there is no advance warning”.
Herbert further explained that the workshop is also important because it “fits in closely with a regional tsunamis and other coastal hazards project that the CDEMA agency has also been engaging the territories in in recent times.”
At the end of the workshop, Herbert noted, the hope is that disaster response agencies and teams would have gained a greater awareness and appreciation of the importance of having contingency plans and that greater collaboration among stakeholders would be fostered. He also listed the clarification of disaster response roles and the drafting of a contingency plan for eventual approval by government are other goals of the workshop.
The opening ceremony commences at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday 3rd, February 2011.