Organisation of American States, (OAS) through its Special Multilateral Fund for the Inter-American Council for Integral development (FEMCIDI), has proudly sponsored the Disaster Management and Mitigation Project for the island of Nevis. The timely project which was launched on Wednesday,June 9th at the Llewellyn Newton Disaster Management Facility at Long Point comes at a time when Nevis has just entered the beginning of the 2010 hurricane season.
The project which is part sponsored by the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) will run at a cost of US$93,500; OAS has made a donation of US$70,000
and the NIA is expected to contribute US$23,500 to the project which is expected to be carried out within the duration of 14 months.
In light of the recent information provided by forecasters on the 2010 hurricane season, OAS Representative for the Federation, Mr. Starret Green
asked persons present to continue to be prayerful and to take all the necessary steps to make the requisite preparations that would help mitigate the effects of any possible storm. Forecasters have predicted that St. Kitts and Nevis and other Caribbean countries can expect an above-average 2010 Atlantic hurricane with a 58 percent chance of a major hurricane affecting the region.
He said that the OAS has continued to place greater emphasis on disaster preparedness and response. “Designing prevention policies, preparing
and training the emergency response workers in OAS member countries have been part of a wider Inter-American Strategic Plan for policy on
vulnerability reduction, risk management and disaster response.”
According to Green, the goals and objectives set forth in this project are far reaching and when accomplished, Nevis and the Federation as a whole
would be a model of disaster management, preparedness and response. “It is important that every effort is undertaken to ensure that this project is
carried out within the fourteen month period,” he advised.
Mr. Green joined the Permanent Secretary in the Premier’s Ministry, Angelica Elliott and the Director of the Nevis Disaster Management Department,
Lester Blackett in the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding that governs the project.
Ms. Elliott said that the funding of the projects speaks loudly to the benefits of inter-agency collaboration, registering her appreciation to the OAS for
smiling on yet another project for Nevis. She said that the result of the project will contribute to meeting development objectives of the NIA by
facilitating the promotion and the development of a sustainable tourism product through fiscal and other measures to mitigate the impact of disasters.
“Implementing strategies to develop Nevis in a sustainable and efficient manner to meet future challenges and opportunities”, she said. Mr. Blackett, was of the view that the damage from natural hazards experienced by St. Kitts and Nevis and the high costs associated with recovery indicate a need for a proactive approach to disaster, hence the purpose of the launch of the project. “In the past twenty years, the Caribbean has been hit by numerous disastrous or potentially disastrous events, earthquakes (Haiti), drought (Caribbean wide), and hurricanes across the island chain. We now also face the threat of Tsunamis”.
He concluded that given the impact of climate change and the increased frequency of disasters in the Caribbean regions, coupled with the limited
availability of external funding, it is essential that all government agencies and civil society embrace the theme and ensure that risk reduction is
allocated a primary role in planning, development and the implementation of projects.
The purpose of the multi-agency and multi-sectoral project is to streamline disaster management in Nevis by focusing on pre and post disaster management processes including mitigation, impact assessment capabilities, focused legislation, regulatory standards, evaluation and enhancementof organizational capabilities, public awareness and the production of disaster management plans.Departments directly involved in the project execution are Economic Planning & Statistics, Physical Planning, Natural Resource & Environment and Tourism with other stakeholder agencies in Nevis. A number of training workshops and consultations will be held as part of the project.