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Disaster Preparedness Programme launched

Disaster Preparedness Programme launched

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The St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross Society, in keeping with its vision of safer, more resilient communities, launched its Community-based Disaster Preparedness Programmes, funded by the European Union Humanitarian Office (ECHO), on March 11, 2010.{{more}}

The project, which is being held in partnership with Finland and Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Societies, was launched under the theme “Strengthening Community based preparedness”.

Bernard Marksman, President of SVG Red Cross Society, in delivering his address at the launch stated: “The project is a disaster risk reduction one”.

“Its aim is to provide training to the relevant communities personnel in disaster risk reduction by equipping these persons with skills in First Aid, radio communication, shelter management and initial damage assessment,” he said

In 2005, a similar project targeted the communities of Sandy Bay, Evesham, Clare Valley, Canouan and Spring Village.

This time around, owing to their vulnerabilities to natural disasters, Fancy, Rose Hall and Mayreau were identified to be the beneficiaries the project.

Marksman pointed out that “Not only is Fancy and Rose Hall within close range to the Volcano but they are only accessible by one road”. He went on: “Mayreau on the other hand is only accessible by sea and is often inaccessible in high seas”.

Out of the training, it is hoped that the communities will be able to develop their own Community Disaster Plan. This in turn will enable the development of a Community Disaster Response Team (CDRT), whose purpose will be to co-ordinate and disseminate information so the community will stay viable during disaster period. It is also hoped that a container of relief supplies would be put in all the communities involved.

Johan Lunabba, the representative from the Finland Red Cross gave a brief presentation on the Director General of European Commission on Humanity Aid (DG- ECHO) – the main sponsor of the project.

Lunabba stated that “ECHO is responsible for financing relief and disaster preparedness in any part of the world, including the Caribbean”. He further said: “It is the biggest single donor in the world in regards to disaster preparedness and relief”.

“Via partners like the Red Cross Movement, UN agencies and other NGOs, ECHO task is to ensure that goods and services get to crises situation fast”.

Using Haiti to illustrate his point, he concluded that “ECHO was the single largest donor in the area of disaster relief in Haiti”.

Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society representative, Rishi Siew, in delivering his address, made note of the fact that the project will provide training which will make the country safer and better prepared.

“The persons living in the communities will be the first respondent in time of disaster,” he said. “These persons will be given the necessary skills needed to enable them to better help their communities.”

Also present at the Launch of the project were Minister René Baptiste, Honorary Vice President of Red Cross, and Yvonne Patterson, former Director General of SVG Red Cross.

It is expected that some 19,000 persons will benefit from the project in St.Vincent and the Grenadines.

The Red Cross Society is the world largest Humanitarian Organisation and major first aid provider. There are approximately 180 Red Cross national societies around the world and over 100 million Red Cross volunteers world wide.