Commemorating the Haitian Earthquake - January 12, 2010

Bridgetown, Barbados Wednesday January 12, 2011 (CDEMA) – Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake on January 12, 2010 was a rude awakening to the urgency for earthquake contingency planning in CDEMA Participating States and a graphic reminder of the need for the region to embrace and implement the core concepts and principles of Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM).

The events that unfolded in Haiti in the aftermath of the January 2010 quake has jolted recognition of the magnitude of impact that is possible in the absence of comprehensive disaster risk management. The event provided the region with invaluable lessons that can and should inform the way forward in addressing the earthquake hazard. The memories of death, suffering, loss and the immense displays of human compassion have highlighted the need to meaningfully address earthquake readiness in the Caribbean.  Capacity must be built and potential losses minimised.

The challenges faced in Haiti have allowed CDEMA the opportunity to garner resources to reinvigorate and stabilize its ongoing mission of promoting disaster prevention preparedness and resilience in the Participating States. This is buttressed by simultaneous efforts to support recovery, rehabilitation and enhancement of Haiti’s disaster risk management system.

Through new partnerships forged with the Governments of Australia and Austria, the European Union (EU), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) among others, technical assistance has been directed to Haiti’s Civil Protection Department (CPD) in support of the rebuilding and enhancement of capacities for disaster risk management and loss reduction. CDEMA’s efforts and commitments over the past 12 months have noticeably strengthened capacities at both the national and community level in Haiti, through strategic interventions involving the:

  1. Development of  National Disaster Plans for multiple hazards,
  2. Strengthening of emergency communications capacity through the provision of telecommunication equipment and the provision of training in emergency communications for disaster management personnel,
  3. Enhancement of capacity of the disaster office for integrated relief programme management through training in Humanitarian Supply Management System (SUMA) and Logistic and Warehouse Management,
  4. Establishment of a  Haiti Technical Assistance Desk in the CDEMA-CU,
  5. Partnership with communities to develop community disaster plans, toolkits for training in disaster management, model evacuation policies and plans which can be adapted and endorsed throughout CDEMA-Participating States,
  6. Provision of emergency equipment such as VHF and HF radios for all 10 districts that comprise the disaster risk management system in Haiti, and
  7. Delivery of training in the Regional Code of Practice for the Construction of houses in Post-Secondary Schools.

These initiatives are ongoing and are being enhanced through direct engagement and intimate collaborations with the CPD. CDEMA through its activities reaffirms its commitment to the government and people of Haiti to maintain its partnership and continue efforts to build resilience and minimise future loss.

For more information please contact:
Dr. Virginia Clerveaux
Senior Programme Officer (SPO)
Haiti Technical Assistance Project (HTAP)
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)
Building #1, Manor Lodge Complex
Tel: (246) 425-0386
Fax: (246) 425-8854
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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