JIS News

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Coordinating Unit (CU) successfully hosted the fourth annual Exercise SYNERGY on May 22, 2022.

The flagship regional exercise was held virtually with participation from more than 50 regional and international stakeholders.

Exercise SYNERGY aims to build preparedness for the potential multi-island, multi-hazard impact threat to the region and tests the coordination within the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM).

Acting Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA, Andria Grosvenor, underscored the importance of regional collaboration in responding to hazardous impacts.

“An effective response to an impacted Participating State can only be made possible via strengthening, coordination and ensuring the key players come to an agreement on how we work together, before we have a disastrous impact,” she said.

Following the 2021 staging of Exercise SYNERGY, which examined a multi-island strike with the impact of a hurricane and a 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the RRM was activated to support multi-island response.

This was necessitated by the August 14, 2021, 7.2 magnitude earthquake that impacted Haiti, and subsequently, Tropical Storm Grace made landfall in the Caribbean.

Ms. Grosvenor noted that Exercise SYNERGY aided in the preparation for that response, explaining that as a result, “the CDEMA CU was already aware of the pledges, tentative capacity, and capability of regional and international RRM partners, which aided in a timely response”.

Exercise SYNERGY received financial support from Global Affairs Canada through the Targeted Support to the CDEMA Project. The Can$8-million project, which commenced in 2019, has played a key role in enhancing the RRM, namely the establishment of CDEMA’s Integrated Regional Logistics Hub and a donation of Can$500,000 to St. Vincent and the Grenadines to support recovery efforts.

Global Affairs Canada Senior International Assistance Officer, Natalie Hutchinson, underscored the Canadian government’s continued support of the Regional Response Mechanism.

“It’s really good to have this opportunity to train together. We heard in the After-Action Review (AAR) that the RRM continues to serve the region well. Certainly, Canada remains a keen supporter of the system and an advocate for the mechanism,” she said.

Participants of SYNERGY came together for robust war-gaming discussions on the scenario of responding to a Category 5 Hurricane impacting several CDEMA participating states concurrently.

Findings from SYNERGY will be used in the annual update and review of the Regional Coordination Plan.

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