Friday 21 September, 2018

Stop taking disaster awareness and preparedness for granted

The issue of Disaster Awareness and Preparedness is one that cannot be taken for granted.

In a worst case scenario that during a hurricane season all participating states of Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) gets a hit what next?

The question posed during a press briefing yesterday to CDEMA’s Executive Director Ronald Jackson started a whole new conversation that the regional response needs to be revisited and that CDEMA has been working on that and will have an update in early 2017.

But looking at legislation he said, The Model Comprehensive Disaster Legislation, which dates back to 2010, would regulate a coordinated disaster management plan for the region.

But he says many Caribbean countries have not yet adopted a model disaster management legislation as recommended by CDEMA to help handle hazards. The only country to date to have adopted such is Jamaica.

Mr Jackson said the proposed legislation, which was amended in 2013, outlines the rights and obligations of the participating states, and speaks to the reform of existing laws relating to disaster management to better reflect the goals and principles of comprehensive disaster management and international disaster risk management best practices.

“What we would recognise is that some of the challenges we are facing in terms of the impact of hazards on our respective environments is based solely on a failure to address some of the underlying issues,” he noted.

These issues in some cases relate to development planning issues or social policy related issues and affordability.

“We realize that a part of dealing with these issues is within the realm of law, some of which are centrally located in the disaster management legislation,” he explained.

While he acknowledged that many of the countries are still “lagging” behind in getting on board with the piece of legislation, he could not give any update as to where they are in the process.

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