Newton made his call during a media address to help bring focus on the importance of the day’s commemoration on Thursday 13th October, 2011.
He said their involvement in such training will engage children and other young persons in meaningful activities which can be applied in the future, to avert potential individual, family or group crisis situations. In addition to parents, Newton said there is also a role in this regard to be played by youth organizations, guardians and the Ministry of Youth.
The Permanent Secretary explained that earlier this year, and in keeping with this year’s theme, “children and young people as partners for disaster risk reduction,” the National Emergency Management Agency (nema) and the Ministry of Education, collaborated and revived a Schools Safety Programme.
He said, when fully developed, the programme will engage students, teachers, parents and other key stakeholders in partnership, to put in place, plans and procedures to mitigate the possible impact of hazards in the vicinity of schools. This initiative will indeed complement and reinforce other disaster risk reduction interventions that target our youths, like the summer fire safety camp, organised annually by the St. Kitts-Nevis Fire and Rescue Services. Such activities are important strategies intended to expose our youths to aspects of disaster mitigation and preparedness.
In commemorating this day, Newton indicated that the nema office on St. Kitts and the Nevis Disaster Management Department, were committed to launch a multi-media earthquake readiness, public education campaign. Brochures and posters will also target students in schools. This outreach effort, follows on from the development of a “Draft St. Kitts-Nevis Earthquake Contingency Plan,” by a multi agency, multi sector group, during a workshop earlier this year. The launch was scheduled for Thursday 13th October.
It was back in 1989, the United Nations General Assembly by Resolution 44/236, designated the second Wednesday of October, for the annual commemoration of the “International Day for the Natural Disaster Reduction, Worldwide.” A subsequent resolution established October 13th, as the annual day of commemoration.
Newton said all citizens should use this day to either become involved or to recommit themselves to proper actions that can reduce the impact of hazards on life and property.
He also encouraged every citizen and/or resident to become more engaged in NEMA’s efforts to foster a national culture of mitigating against disaster and other risks which can result in loss of lives and property thereby affecting our individual and collective well-being.