CDEMA launches public awareness component to educate region about tsunamis and other coastal hazards

Bridgetown, Barbados (CDEMA): Oct 27, 2009 - The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will launch the Public Awareness Component of the Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System (TCHWS) Project on Wednesday October 28, 2009 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Port of Spain, Trinidad.

The Launch precedes two days of workshops on October 28 and 29 and a public awareness programme to be executed over the coming months in four pilot states. The workshops will bring together curriculum development specialists, education and communication specialists, national disaster management professionals and scientists from all 18 CDEMA Participating States. The sessions are designed to facilitate the introduction, review and enhancement of draft educational and public awareness products which will be used in the Campaign to prepare CDEMA States to respond to tsunamis and other coastal threats.

CDEMA’s Executive Director, Jeremy Collymore describes the public awareness programme as “fundamental” to disaster risk management in the region, adding that education and awareness are important “pillars for building a culture of disaster risk reduction, a new element of the CDEMA mandate.”

According to Mr. Collymore, “The TCHWS Project is part of the regional agenda to address all critical hazards, through the engagement of a diversity of stakeholders and partners”.

Director of the Seismic Research Centre, Dr. Richard Robertson commented that the Centre was pleased to be collaborating with CDEMA on the TCHWS Project. “CDEMA’s extensive reach within the regional disaster management community ensures that the material produced under the project will be widely disseminated.” Dr. Robertson further noted that, “The involvement of the SRC also means that the information will be scientifically sound.”

The products under review include i) a suite of multimedia products for use among the general populations and ii) teacher educational material for the 12-15 year group. The materials are being developed by the University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Centre (SRC), as part of the TCHWS Project’s efforts to support the proposed Tsunami and Other Coastal Hazards Warning System for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions. This product review workshop is one of many activities being advanced to increase public awareness and education about tsunamis and other coastal hazards in the Participating States.

Key note speaker, The Honourable Donna Cox, Minister of State with responsibility for Disaster Management in the twin-island republic, representatives from USAID/OFDA, Executive Director of CDEMA Mr. Jeremy Collymore, Trinidad and Tobago’s National Disaster Coordinator Colonel George Robinson, and Director of SRC, UWI, St. Augustine, Dr. Richard Robertson are among those expected to attend the Launch Ceremony.

The TCHWS Project began in 2007 and is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to the tune of US$475,200. This project supports the development of a comprehensive tsunami and other coastal hazards warning system for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions currently being coordinated by the Intergovernmental Coordination Group for the Caribbean and Adjacent Regions (ICG/CARIBE). The project will end in March 2010.

The workshops are being organised in association with the Office of Disaster Preparedness (ODPM) in Trinidad and Tobago and facilitated by the SRC. The CDEMA Participating States include Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago and Turks & Caicos.

CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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