Role of the Media in Disaster Management

VestaSouthwellA(ZIZ)– With about seven weeks before the official start of the 2014 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is in the midst of plans to educate communities on preparing for and reacting to a disaster.

NEMA’s Public Relations Officer, Vesta Southwell says a key component is getting information out to the public as quickly as possible.

To do this they are hosting a consultation next week, involving the meteorological office and various media houses.

“We want those messages to be clear, that persons know what the standard operating procedures are. In other words…when you get this message it means this. So that requires education and so we ought to invite our critical partner which is the media,” she explained.

Southwell says they are developing a new mode of communication that changes the laid back approach to disaster management.

“Hazards are not going to be getting softer and quieter; they’re getting bigger and bolder. We’re now addressing a lot more hazards than we used to. In the past, traditionally, we used to focus only on hurricanes and that sort of thing. Now we are being told that we can expect a tsunami or earthquake of quite a high magnitude.”

The consultation takes place next Wednesday and is being facilitated by USAID Consultant, Audrey Mullings.

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