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St Vincent gets technical assistance from disaster management expert

St Vincent gets technical assistance from disaster management expert
Supt. Sylvan McIntyre has been deployed on the ground in St. Vincent & the Grenadines through the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST). (Photo courtesy CDEMA)

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A regional disaster management expert has been deployed to St Vincent & the Grenadines to support its national disaster office with the ongoing volcano crisis.

The Bridgetown-based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) said police superintendent Sylvan McIntyre of neighbouring Grenada will spend six weeks in Kingstown to assist the authorities with managing the issues surrounding the effusive eruption at the La Soufriere Volcano under the regional response mechanism (RRM).

“I feel first and foremost humbled to be recognised as one of the persons in the region to be responding to a sister country that is in need,” he said. “Secondly, it gives me a sense of regional collaboration support that Grenada was able to see to the request of St. Vincent.

“I feel confident that I will be of support to St. Vincent. I am concerned, but not scared of the environment. I am aware of the issues having worked on the frontlines since March 2020. Therefore…I will keep myself safe.”

Superintendent McIntyre has been a pillar within the RRM, having been a part of CDEMA’s response to events such as the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, Hurricane Irma of 2017 in the British Virgin Islands and Hurricane Dorian of 2019 in The Bahamas.

His tasks under this deployment include reviewing evacuation plans and relief management, assisting the National Emergency Management Organisation with a volcanic hazard table-top exercise and examining the interface of the National Emergency Operations Centre to support the COVID-19 response and multi-hazard complexities.

“This deployment is an example of regional and international collaboration at its finest,” CDEMA’s acting executive director, Elizabeth Riley said.

“Through the COST (CARICOM Operational Support Team), we are able to source the technical expertise required to respond to and mitigate against the many natural hazards that threaten our region.

“We are grateful to the Government of Grenada for facilitating this request and for Supt. McIntyre’s willingness to apply his experience and skill set on the ground in St. Vincent & the Grenadines.”

CDEMA said funding for the deployment of Supt. McIntyre was available through the Caribbean Climate Resilience Initiative, launched last August with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

The initiative seeds BB $9 million into helping countries reduce disaster and recover from hazard impacts and climate variability.