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Consultation on Relief Supplies Management Workshop to take Place at the NIC

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Tuesday, March 7, 2006 The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency [CDERA] with the United Nations Development Fund [UNDP] and the National Emergency Management Organisation [NEMO] shall conduct a regional consultation on Relief Supplies Management.  The meeting shall be held at the NIC Conference Room from 9:00 am on March 9th 2006.


This one (1) day consultation will review Disaster Relief Management with an aim to enhance the National Relief program and to guide relief response efforts in the aftermath of any emergency event including those related to Search and Rescue.  The document will draw upon basic principles to be used throughout the entire Caribbean region for relief management.


On October 20th 2005 the National Emergency Management Advisory Committee [NEMAC] approved for forwarding to Cabinet a new Donations Policy and Relief Distribution Plan for Saint Lucia.


The workshop is aimed mainly at:

i.         Persons who are expected to have some involvement in disaster relief operations particularly those who will:

ii.       Make decisions about what supplies are needed and where they should be sought.

iii.     Liaise with potential donors.

iv.     Provide updates on the status of relief supply operations.

v.       Decision makers or senior representatives from the following agencies should be included:

         National Disaster Office and Relief/Welfare Committee Members

         Ministry of Foreign Affairs

         Ministry Responsible for Welfare Housing and Food/Water Supplies Locally

         Port and Airport Management




         Defence Force

         Main NGOs e.g. Red Cross, Rotary, Lion's Club, Kiwanis etc.


The small islands of the Caribbean are especially vulnerable to the impact of natural hazards.  Within the past two decades the region has experienced repeated loss from hurricanes and associated wind, rain and surge storm damage, volcanic eruptions, landslides, flooding and droughts.  These events have opened a window of opportunity to foster greater attention to disaster management and response measures; as a result member states, aided by the considerable efforts made by CDERA and its development partners, have been building their disaster preparedness and response capabilities.


Disaster management policies have been adopted in nearly all CDERA Participating States, however, existing disaster management policy framework and contingency plans are limited in scope in that plans only provide guidelines for a response at the national agenda level; few National Plans include contingencies for triggering regional and international emergency response.  Where procedures for external assistance have been established, a common organizational structure and control method for the management of personnel, equipment, and supplies is desirable.  National plans need to include the roles and responsibilities of international and regional agencies and organizations such as the CDRU, SUMA, NGOs etc.  Where the support of such agencies is incorporated in the national plan, the roles and responsibilities of said agencies need to be more clearly defined.


A more integrated and holistic approach is needed to minimize loss and dislocation.  There is a need for better interagency coordination at the regional and international levels.  Relief management needs to have regional and national relief policies from which relief plans can be developed.  The national relief plans, as part of the overall national disaster plan can then spawn procedures to provide the detail required to conduct efficient and effective relief operations.


To bring cohesion to disaster response and relief coordination, CDERA, through a consultative approach the support has developed a Model Integrated Relief Programme (MIRP) with funding from the Canadian International development Agency to build on the lessons learned from the 2004 experiences.  CDERA plans to use the MIRP as a foundation for the development of national relief programmes.  The development of similar programmes is an important step to integrating disaster response and relief coordination amongst the CDERA member states.


Through a regional workshop, all CDERA Participating States have been oriented to the MIRP. Under the Strengthening of the Urban Search and Rescue Capability of CDERA Project support is being provided to address the dire need by supporting the first step in the process, development of an overarching policy to guide the relief supplies management efforts through the convening of a one-day consultation in each country. The aim is to have a National Disaster Relief Policy developed in every CDERA Participating State by the end of February 2006.

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