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Enhancing Disaster Preparedness in the Caribbean- Synopsis PDF Print E-mail


The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) recognises the vulnerability of the Caribbean region to natural and technological disasters. In fact, it is the recognition of this vulnerability and the need for a mechanism to provide oversight for disaster management in the region, that provided the impetus of the creation of this organisation in 1991.

As the focal point for Disaster Management in the Caribbean region, CDERA has endeavoured over the past seven years to garner technical assistance from various resource agencies, execute Memoranda of Agreement and other formal agreements with these agencies and collaborate with several donors in the implementation of various activities and programmes designed to enhance disaster management in the region. This is in keeping with our mandate to mobilise and organize technical and other assistance to support the development of the disaster management capabilities of our Participating States

In the 1996-1999 Work programme of CDERA various activities have been proposed which are designed to consolidate the initiatives of past seven years. These are aimed at initiating a common benchmark for cooperation in national and regional disaster preparedness and response mechanisms. Our programme for 1996-1999 therefore was designed to develop a platform for transforming the present focus on disaster preparedness to an agenda for comprehensive disaster management. This will of necessity draw on various disciplines and development programmes to achieve that end.

More importantly, we have aimed to seize every opportunity in our programme delivery to develop partnerships and coalitions to achieve cost efficiencies, optimise use of available resources whilst reducing replication and duplication. Indeed with limited financial resources in or available to the region, we can only pool our expertise and collaborate in achieving related desired outcomes.

During 1999 we will strengthen our partnership and collaborative efforts in implementing the project Enhancing Disaster Preparedness in the Caribbean region funded by The European Community's Humanitarian Office of Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO).


This project is appropriately named "Enhancing Disaster Preparedness in the Caribbean region". The activities highlighted are in recognition of the variety of disaster management activities being planned or undertaken in the region and existing critical gaps. The Project is intended to cultivate a consistent and permanent approach to following as it relates to disaster management:

  • School Disaster Preparedness

  • Emergency Planning

  • Community Disaster Planning

  • Emergency broadcast services and facilities in the region

It therefore contains a set of catalytic activities designed to address and consolidate disaster preparedness interventions in these areas in the region and further entrench disaster awareness and preparedness. This is an integral part of the CDERA Work Programme for 1999 and those being planned for 2000-2001.

The entire project is expected to be for the duration of three years. However during 1999, the activities to be undertaken will focus on laying a solid implementation foundation for the outputs of the project.


The general objective of this Project is to:

Mobilise resources for the strengthening of disaster management in the Caribbean region. It specifically aims to consolidate initial interventions by CDERA and other institutions that were designed to facilitate the development of a long term regional programme in disaster preparedness for schools, emergency broadcast and community disaster preparedness.

There are seven (7) specific objectives of this Project, each of them focussing on a critical area. These are highlighted in the attached Log. They focus on the following:

Specific Objective 1: Enhancing School Disaster Preparedness planning

Specific Objective 2: Enhancing the Capacity for Emergency Broadcast

Specific Objective 3: Development of National policies, Procedures and Skills for Managing Relief Supply Operations during Disasters

Specific Objective 4: Enhancing Management of Disaster Information

Specific Objective 5: Enhancement of Telecommunications Services in the Region

Specific Objective 6: Enhancement of Emergency Communications

Specific Objective 7: Enhancement of Community Disaster Planning


The beneficiary countries for this programme are Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, Republic of Saint Christopher & Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Trinidad & Tobago, Turks & Caicos Islands.


The project is financed by The European Community's Humanitarian Office of Disaster Preparedness Programme (DIPECHO). Since its creation in 1992 The European Community's Humanitarian Office(ECHO) has become one of the major providers of humanitarian aid. In 1994 ECHO started a specific disaster preparednedss programme within the framework of its humanitarian operations.

DIPECHO was formed to promote consistancy of regional, national and local disaster preparedness policies and to facilitate the dissemination and exchange of information at a regional level. The projects financed as part of this programme aim at strengthening disaster preparedness through training, early warning systems and improved planning of emergency operations. The long term philosophy of these projects is to reduce the vulnerability of the communities most at risk from disaster and ensure that action taken is sustainable.


CDERAs desire is to promote programme cooperation and collaboration in pursuit of development initiatives in the region. To this end, the implementation of this project will see the following:

  • Use of existing products and module for training of trainers

  • TCDC approach which will see technical cooperation and use of regional expertise for training

  • Collaboration with and working through agencies which have mandates in areas of expertise identified in the Project

  • Creation of Partnerships and the integration of project activities into the activities being planned or undertaken

CDERA will also contribute 10% of its staff time both at the Coordinating Unit and in its Member States.


The project is fully staffed with nationals from the region, specifically Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados. The supporting office equipment has also been established. Thus work has commenced on all of the projects areas identified in 3.0 above. At this time (September, 1999) 50% of the DIPECHO's Project activities have been fulfilled. Details and photographs on these activities are highlighted in "Update on Project Activities"


National Consultation on Relief - Guyana

October 7-8, 1999

Workshop in Emergency Broadcast Procedures - Barbados

October 7-8, 1999

National Consultation on Relief - Dominica

September 27-28, 1999

Public Facilities Inspectors Training Workshop - Trinidad & Tobago

September 27-30, 1999

Vulnerability Reduction for School Facilities Workshop - St. Lucia

August 16-17, 1999

Workshop in the Management of Releif Supply Operations - Jamaica

August 12-13,1999

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