Evacuation plan being developed for possible major disasters

NEMA officials have stated that evacuation is a risk management strategy that may be an appropriate response to a number of the hazards faced by this Federation, to mitigate the effects of an emergency or disaster on a community. It involves the movement of people to a safer location, whether in response to a threat of a hazard, or to a disaster.

St. Kitts-Nevis was selected as the first CDEMA Participating State to adapt the Model Policy and Plan, which was followed by an initial consultative workshop for Permanent Secretaries and Heads of Departments, in Nevis last year.

The genesis of the event was based on the potential threat to major economic national assets, such as the tourism infrastructure, and population settlements, because of their close proximity to the coastline and subsequent vulnerability to storm surge.

Project Consultant, Alison King offers, “Hazard risk is a threat to the viability of each of the CDEMA Participating States (PSs) and recent experiences with multi-hazard and multi-country impacts have served to underscore the economic and social vulnerability and fragility of the region as a whole.

In May of 2005 the European Union (EU) and the Secretariat of the African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) Group of States established an ACP-EU Facility for Natural Disaster Management, and the European Commission partnered with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) to implement the Disaster Risks Management Sub-Regional Programme.

The overall objective of the Disaster Risks Management Sub-Regional Programme for the Caribbean is to enhance the human safety level of the populations and to reduce the social, economic and environmental costs of natural disasters in the Caribbean region.

This Programme directly supports the CDEMA Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy and Programming Framework, Priority Outcome three (3) which promotes mainstreaming of disaster risk management at national levels and incorporation into key sectors of national economies (including tourism, health, agriculture and nutrition), and Priority Outcome four (4) which promotes the enhancement of community resilience in CDEMA PSs to mitigate and respond to the adverse effects of climate change and disasters (CDEMA, date unknown).

The major outputs or results expected include development of model national evacuation policies and plans, including a tourism sector evacuation plan.

These Model Evacuation Policy and Plans were developed following consultations with stakeholders from thirteen CDEMA PSs and with CDEMA, review of the CDEMA model national comprehensive disaster management policy, prevailing national legislation, strategies and plans, and review of the draft model CDM Bill and Regulations (2012).  They were prepared by Alison King in collaboration with Dawn French.

Ms. King is joined by CDEMA Mitigation and Preparedness Specialist, Ms. Donna Pierre, as Facilitators for the one-day workshop, which takes place Thursday.

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