Sixteenth Annual Board of Directors Meeting of CDERA concludes in Belize- By NEMO Press Officer

Belmopan, Belize, April 21, 2006 (NEMO) - Disaster Managers of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency’s (CDERA) Participating States have concluded their review of CDERA’s initiatives over the last year. The occasion was the Sixteenth Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency held in Belize.

The Directors of CDERA expressed their support for the various initiatives that were accomplished over the last year including training for over a thousand emergency personnel, 70 national/regional disaster workshops, and the delivery of emergency search and rescue equipment and tools to various disaster offices throughout the Caribbean.

During their deliberations, the Directors approved revised plans for Damage and Needs Assessment (DANA), Relief Policies and Search and Rescue. These plans were revised based on the lessons learnt and identified from recent regional and international events. The DANA policy and program protocols are being considered as models for adoption by disaster managers in Latin America.

The Board considerations for the Cricket World Cup 2007 (CWC) also identified critical resource gaps to be addressed to complete the intense process in a timely and efficient manner. This special report will be presented to the Ad-Hoc Committee of Ministers of National Security to be held next week in Barbados.

It was also agreed that there should be an examination of CDERA’s Warehouse Supplies and Management initiatives as well as the need to revisit the basic requirements for National Disaster Offices Programs and Staffing within the scope of CDERA’s structure. Forecasts for an active 2006 Hurricane Season were discussed and the need to complete the inventory and inspection of the four (4) regional warehouses by the end of May was agreed. At the same time participating states are to assess the status of their critical response resources.

Additionally, it was agreed to revisit the Emergency Telecommunications Plans and Procedures for the Caribbean. Discussions focused on the various ways of providing a more integrated communications network including radio trunking.

The Directors endorsed efforts at strengthening the partnership between CDERA and the various private sector partners including those organizations affiliated with Tourism, Agriculture and Education. The working relationship would also be strengthened between the OECS (Organization of Eastern Caribbean States), IFRCS (International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies), WFP (World Food Program) and the RSS (Regional Security System) who have a played a pivotal role in emergency management in the Caribbean.

The Board also endorsed efforts to improve donor coordination and effectiveness within the context of CDM. They also agreed to pursue dialogue with the Climate Change Center in Belize to further the links between Climate Change and Disaster Managers.

The Directors also agreed to pursue the creation of an Association of Disaster Managers of CARICOM and code of Ethics to govern the proposed institution.

The Board also noted the completion of regional workshops for Safer Building Standards targeted at builders in the informal setting. This has been reviewed and now allows for the possible movement and training of regional personnel in disaster reconstruction programs.

The next Board of Directors Meeting for CDERA is tentatively scheduled to be held in Anguilla in 2007.

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