A NEMA press release indicates that this is in keeping with NEMA’s multi-hazard approach and is part of the strengthening of the federation’s existing hurricane awareness strategies to address its capacity to respond to all threats, both man-made and natural. To this end, a number of workshops and other exercises have been developed, in conjunction with stakeholders, to reduce vulnerability to serious hazards by improving the response capabilities within all communities.
Recent collaborations include First Aid Training, the development of a Schools Safety Programme and a Community Disaster Plan, jointly presented with the St. Kitts-Nevis Red Cross Society and the United States Agency for International Development. In February of this year, a Draft Earthquake Contingency Plan was developed in conjunction with members of the disaster management community, resulting from a Workshop that was facilitated by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), through funding sourced from the Australian Government.
This draft contingency plan, seeks among other things, to minimise the loss of life and damage to property and the environment by effectively responding to and recovering quickly from the impacts of serious earthquakes and tsunamis. The inevitable time lag between hazard impact and the response of government and non-government agencies will affect recovery efforts. It is therefore often expected that individuals and groups in affected areas, initiate the immediate response.
National Disaster Coordinator, Carl Herbert, has said that effective response to any impact is determined by the level of preparedness of communities. “It is therefore essential that residents are educated about the hazards they face and organised and trained to respond to them,” he said.
“In view of several earthquakes and tsunamis recently in Haiti, New Zealand, Japan and Spain, and as a follow up to the workshop held in February,” Mr. Herbert explained, “an Earthquake Readiness Campaign was planned to coincide with our ongoing public awareness process.”
This Campaign, which involves the launch of public service announcements via the Federation’s electronic media, includes the visit of acclaimed Seismologist, Dr. Joan Latchman, of the University of the West Indies Seismic Research Centre, in St. Augustine, Trinidad. While in St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Latchman will dialogue with high school sophomores and seniors and answer questions from the public on various local radio talk shows and TV programmes.
Residents are invited to call in to a very special edition of “In Focus” on ZIZ TV, on Monday, 16th May, 2011, from 9pm. Call in to find out if a major earthquake is inevitable for St. Kitts and Nevis and what role ordinary citizens can play in response to a devastating impact.
(Major portions of this article were incorporated from a NEMA press release)