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‘Be ready for disasters’

Carol-Ann Tudor

‘Be ready for disasters’

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Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs, Lucene Wharton-Isaac, says instead of mere responses to disasters in the Caribbean their root causes should be seriously addressed.
Her comments were made yesterday in an address to the Central Sub-Regional Coordination Consultation at the Department of Emergency Management headquarters in Warrens for national disaster coordinators and permanent secretaries with responsibility for disaster management.
The consultation is being undertaken as part of the broader initiative of the ACP-EU-funded disaster risk management sub-regional programme which seeks to build resilience of nations and communities in the Caribbean to hazard impacts.
The European Commission (EC) and ACP Secretariat, through its joint Natural Disaster Facility, are providing the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)?with £1.8 million over a two-year period to aid in building more resilient communities. 
Wharton-Isaac pointed out that the sub-regional focal points (coordination centres in the event that any of the countries under their responsibility was impacted by a disastrous event) presented a key mechanism for adjusting and coping with hazards and must themselves always be in a state of preparedness to respond at the local and sub-regional levels. 
Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are CDEMA’s frontline response to member states after a disaster event.
“Movement to a culture where development and disaster-related policies focus on more than just emergency response therefore is essential if the region is to develop the requisite capacity to carry out sustained preparedness and mitigation initiatives,” the permanent secretary said.
She said that while the region had coped with a variety of disastrous events in recent times with resilience every opportunity should be taken to correct any inefficiencies.
See also Tuesday’s DAILY NATION Page 7.