The focus of this year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction is Hospitals Safe from Disasters. Today Wednesday October 14, 2009 is dedicated to highlighting the importance of strengthening the capacity and resilience of health facilities and health systems against the impact of disasters. Health systems inclusive of equipment, medical data and personnel need to remain functional at all times. Yet, experience has taught the global community that health facilities and the services that they offer are often severely impacted when disaster strikes. To read more click here

In recognition of the need to develop national and regional capacity in the area of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) conducted a two-day workshop in Kingston Jamaica, January 29 - 30, 2002. The Workshop focused on Civil/Military Coordination in Search and Rescue Operation.

The Workshop provided a forum for information sharing and the exchange of ideas on the way forward in the development of a regional USAR programme. Through the technical guidance of the St. Croix Rescue Squad, participants were familiarized with specific issues to be considered in the development of a USAR programme. The issues raised were applicable both at the national as well as regional level. Critical sources of expertise in the area of USAR were also identified. The participation of Montserrat, being one of the most advanced Participating States in this area, was of tremendous benefit to the Workshop as it contributed first hand knowledge to the operations of an Urban Search and Rescue programme.

Nineteen (19) participants benefited from the Workshop. They consisted of civil and military representatives drawn from the sub-regional focal points of the CDERA Participating States as well as various regional and other regional stakeholder organizations. The latter included CDERA, PAHO, Regional Security System (RSS), the Search and Rescue Team of Montserrat and the Coordination Center for the Prevention of Natural Disasters in Central America (CEPREDENAC).

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