Disaster Management Landscape to be upgraded through NEMA/USAID/OFDA partnership

ZIZ News…April 9, 2013 — With a goal of entrenching a holistic approach to disaster management into St. Kitts and Nevis culture, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is collaborating with the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), to build local capacity in Shelter and Shelter Management in the Federation. The purpose of the exercise is to increase the number and the level of training of participants in the operation and management of emergency shelters, according to National Disaster Coordinator, Carl Herbert. “Our ultimate goal is to ensure that mature, reliable volunteers are qualified to undertake this important responsibility, in the event of disaster,” he said.

The workshop is being held April 9th – 10th 2013, at the NEMA Headquarters, Lime Kiln, for some twenty-five individuals recruited from the Disaster Management Districts and the Community Development Departments on both St. Kitts and Nevis.

Facilitating will be Ms. Audrey Mullings, USAID/OFDA’s Consultant to St. Kitts and Nevis, who will be partnering on the exercise with two local trainers in the persons of Terry Morris and Othneil Heyliger.

Messrs. Morris and Heyliger were both trained by USAID/OFDA in a variety of disciplines, including Shelter and Shelter Management, and are part of a cadre of Regional Trainers who from time to time, may engage in exercises overseas.

In opening remarks, Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Homeland Security, Mr. Elvis Newton said he was heartened that the presenters resembled the participants, which is not always the case here.

“I must commend OFDA, for their quest to develop our national capacity, which is critical in our ongoing pursuit of development and progress.” He further stated that his Ministry is encouraged by the continued partnership, and intends to respect and to build upon its foundation for years to come.

In her presentation, Ms. Mullings revealed her long lasting relationship with St. Kitts and Nevis, telling participants that she has been working with the Federation dating back to the early 80s, and feels that she is an honorary Kittitian.

She outlined the workshop agenda as a tool for capacity building in the areas of preparedness and response; support for affected communities returning to normalcy following an impact and the reduction of loss in vulnerable areas through mitigation and other affects.

Later this week, there is to be a Disaster Management Stakeholders Forum, during which the USDAID/OFDA programme of assistance for Latin America and the Caribbean will be presented.

More than thirty members of the Disaster Management fraternity are expected to attend this forum, including representatives from the Red Cross Society and the Meteorological Services, who will also be sensitising the gathering on their roles before, during and after an event.

The forum convenes at NEMA Headquarters on Thursday, 11th April, from 9:30 in the morning. This meeting will also be facilitated by Ms. Mullings, with remarks made by USAID/OFDA Regional Advisor, Mr. John Kimbrough.

While in the Federation, Ms. Mullings will also meet with representatives of the Fire and Rescue Services, Police, Defence Force, Ministry of Health and Disaster Management personnel, to discuss the status of the Federation’s response mechanism, to identify and coordinate needs with the availability of support, to develop a search and rescue programme and to establish timelines to address the needs identified.

The meeting is to be held Friday, 12th April, 2013, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at the NEMA Headquarters.

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