NEMA prepares for annual exercise

Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 17, 2020 (NEMA): Testing capacity at various levels, involving a complex composition of resources can test NEMA’s ability to respond and to coordinate responses of it’s many stakeholders, during an event.

Accordingly, exercises are part of NEMA’s mandate, in it’s service to residents and communities and form a critical part of the National Disaster Management Plan.

National Disaster Coordinator, Abdias Samuel, explained that testing disaster plans are the dress rehearsals that lead to a comprehensive response to a threat that is imminent.

Once our nation is impacted, by any hazard whether natural or manmade”, he said, “it is too late to debate response plans, necessary resources and evacuations…. Action has to be well thought out, quick and reliable.”

The NDC further shared that responsible action is only possible when there is a plan that is well rounded and continually tested, in order to identify and address gaps and uncertainties going forward.

Each year NEMA, in collaboration with her many stakeholders, participates in a global exercise known as Caribe Wave. Caribe Wave is the annual tsunami exercise of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).

The exercise will be conducted and coordinated together with the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Caribbean regional emergency management stakeholders (CEPREDENAC [Coordination Centre for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America], CDEMA [Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency], and EMIZA [French Inter-Ministerial for the Antilles Estate Major Zone]). The purpose is to advance tsunami preparedness efforts in the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions, building on the plans and actions of disaster management offices at local levels.

This year, the event is being led by Deputy National Disaster Coordinator, Mrs. Claricia Langley-Stevens and Mrs. Oureika Lennon-Petty, Planning Officer at NEMA.

Our expectations have been raised for this year’s event,” Lennon-Petty said, “and includes a wide span within a vulnerable area in Basseterre that is highly populated by businesses and residences.”

It’s our hope that through the participation of players residing or working in the exercise area, that we will yield a variety of scenarios in keeping with the objectives of the exercise.”

In preparing for the event, meetings have been ongoing at the NEMA with Players, Stakeholders and Evaluators, and intended to continue up to the day of the exercise.

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