The Secretariat of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is collaborating with the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to facilitate a program that is intended to mainstream disaster risk reduction, in OECS countries.
The programme is in keeping with the related pilot project, which is currently being undertaken in the community of Half Way Tree on St. Kitts and in a similar community, on Anguilla.
One of the activities under the Comprehensive Disaster Management Harmonised Implementation Programme (CDM HIP) is the integration of disaster risk reduction into OECS environmental management programmes. A Harmonised Protocol has therefore been developed as part of a strategic approach for integrating disaster management or the reduction of risks, into OECS and National Environmental Management Strategies (NEMS).
The Protocol also will is inform about vulnerability and post impact assessment procedures including the collection of baseline information required for the assessments and the integration of gender, community and environmental issues into disaster management.
The final draft of the Protocol will be circulated to Member States and Development Partners for review and adaptation.
According to Districts Coordinator, Mrs. Telca Wallace, the aim is to strengthen communities’ resources, by positioning residents to take on some of the responsibility for hazard management within the community.
This initiative, Mrs. Wallace said, seeks to support vulnerable communities through a number of actions, which include:
- a.The development of a historical disaster profile database,
- b.The identification of hazard-prone areas within the community,
- c.Vulnerability assessment, and
- d.Monitoring and documenting levels of risk.
Mrs. Wallace said that Half Way Tree has already begun to reap the benefits of the project.
“We have been fortunate that the half Way Tree community is united and serious about disaster management,” she said, “and we can boast that to date a Multi-Hazard plan has been developed for the district, the Community Centre is refurbished, Scientific Analyses have been done resulting in flood hazard mapping of both inland and coastal areas, and capacity building and strengthening exercises for training skilled workers within the community, have been completed.”
According to Mrs. Wallace, the primary goal of this project has already been achieved. “We have observed that community residents are more aware now, of what hazards are likely to impact the community and what can be done to make its inhabitants more resilient, to their impact,” she said.