JIS News

Information Manager of the Barbados-based Caribbean Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), Terry Ally, has said that the Caribbean was moving from a “response and relief” mode towards strengthening partnerships within the region to create a culture of awareness and preparedness in disaster mitigation and management activities in the 21st century.
Mr. Ally named policy makers, the media and popular culture as the main targets towards achieving this goal for Caribbean disaster management.
In support of the move to create a culture of awareness and preparedness among media practitioners, Mr. Ally said a media workshop would be staged later this year “to sensitise Caribbean journalists about disaster management” and “move the media from a reactive to proactive mode” in disaster matters.
He said the media workshop would also encourage journalists to give as much prominence to disaster mitigation and planning as other important issues such as politics and crime.
The CDERA Information Manager was addressing the opening session of the one-day Disaster Management Information Workshop held at the Jamaica Conference Centre on Monday (March 8).
The CDERA/UNESCO workshop was the second of four to be held in the Caribbean “to inform the further redesign and reproduction of four disaster management information publications to better serve the target groups”.
Belize hosted the first workshop while the second was staged in collaboration with Jamaica’s Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM). In the coming weeks Barbados and Trinidad will host the third and fourth workshops, respectively.
The publications under review are ‘Disaster Preparedness – Interactive Class Materials’ for students and teachers; ‘Disaster Information Kit for the Media’; ‘Community Emergency Plan’ and ‘Family Emergency Plan’.
Dr. Barbara Carby, Director General at the ODPEM supported the objectives of the workshop, noting that the “impact of a hazard can have drastic consequences” on a country.
She added that “the single best way to reduce loss and vulnerability is having an informed and knowledgeable public.”
She also commended the “diversity of thought, experience and intellect of the participants,” which she said were essential for a disaster management programme in any country.
Participants at the workshop included students, teachers, the media, geologists, parish disaster co-ordinators, community-based and non-government organisations.