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Contact: Claudia Monlouis

Tuesday, March 31, 2003 - The National Emergency Management Office (NEMO), in collaboration with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), is seeking strategies encouraging Caribbean people to embrace a broader understanding of the term “Disaster Management”. The Director of NEMO, Dawn French, says her organisation will be assisted in its efforts by CDERA consultant Eleanor Jones who arrived here on Tuesday.

According to French, the consultant will lead a sensitization session on Comprehensive Disaster Management, where other factors pertaining to Disaster Management will be examined.

“Traditionally we have always focussed on hurricanes. But now we are aware that there are volcanoes, we’ve got particularly fires in St. Lucia, now we have the war in Iraq - so there are complex disaster issues to deal with. Disaster Management is not only about hurricanes anymore. With the different areas coming to the fore in Disaster Management, CDERA has seen it fit to try and get the islands to focus on Disaster Management as a wider picture,” French explained.

Eleanor Jones, the CDERA consultant, will be meeting with high ranking official within government. Jones will advise on an appropriate comprehensive disaster management strategy, which will be presented at a national consultation scheduled for April 15.

“Each island is different, so when CDERA produces a document – it’s a model document and you have to adopt and adapt to your own unique situation. So they will come in to get the feel of the country so that we can adapt the document,” commented French.

Over the past three years CDERA has been holding national consultations in each of its 16 member states to educate as many sectors as possible in disaster management.

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