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NEMO better equipped to handle natural disasters


NEMO officials now have a better understanding of the impact of natural disasters on the coastline of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as they have completed a study on the subject.{{more}}

NEMO (National Emergency Management Organization) was officially presented with the final report of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Coastal Vulnerability Assessment at a handing over ceremony at their Headquarters at Old Montrose on Wednesday, February 11th.

The survey, which was conducted over a one-year period, was done to gain better knowledge of the effects of natural disasters on the coastline of St. Vincent.

Giving the Keynote address at the ceremony, Consultant of Environmental Solutions Ltd. Eleanor Jones noted that the same hazards the country faces today, such as volcanic eruptions, are the same hazards that can destroy the country’s environment.

Jones also stated that a more thorough cost analysis should be looked at, and officials should not only assess the cost of reconstructing or repairing damage. “We have to keep all these factors in mind,” Jones said, as she referred to the importance of financial, social and economic factors that may come into play. Jones also commended the NEMO organization, which presented the idea for the study.

Also commending NEMO on their efforts, Physical Planning Officer Shelford Stowe urged relevant businesses and organizations to use the document as best as they can.

The Director of USAID Barbados also urged businesses not to use the report as a paperweight, but to make use of the extensive information provided therein.

The extensive study includes detailed maps of the East Coast of St. Vincent, including the shorelines and settlements along the shorelines. Coastal conditions such as wave currents, and the extent and effects of long-term erosion were also researched.

The study was conducted on three points on the island section; One from Questelles point on the Leeward side of the island to Johnson point on the Windward side; section two extended from Brighton Bay to Biabou Bay on the Windward side of the island; and Section three study was from Colonaire Bay to Sandy Bay, also on the Windward side of the island.

There are future plans to carry out further studies on other points of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, according to Director of NEMO Howie Prince. Whatever is decided, the Government can expect full support from its contributors, the USAID (United States Agency of International Development) and the Caribbean Open Trade Support (COTS). “We are very happy to be able to contribute to the integrated development of the country. We hope that it is put to good use,” Efrain Laureano, of COTS, said while speaking with SEARCHLIGHT. Director of USAID Barbados also related the organization’s readiness to help with Government’s efforts where disaster preparedness is concerned. “We will continue to press the case at Washington,” he said.

The Coastal Vulnerability Assessment Study was funded by the USAID in conjunction with Caribbean Open Trade Support. The Environmental Solutions Ltd, along with a local steering committee, conducted the research.