CDEMA hosts Exercise Synergy 2023 to strengthen the Regional Response Mechanism

Bridgetown, Barbados May 30, 2023 – CDEMA hosted its fifth flagship regional exercise, SYNERGY, just ahead of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season on May 24, 2023. SYNERGY has become a staple on the agency’s calendar, to test the coordination of partners within the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM), as the Caribbean continues to exist in a complex multi-hazard environment.

Speaking at the opening ceremony of Exercise SYNERGY, Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA, Lt. Col. Kester Craig said, “An effective response to an impacted Participating State can only be made by strengthening coordination and making sure key players like yourselves, present today come to an agreement in how we work together before an event, and this is very critical.”

He made a call for the over 40 partners in attendance to be prepared for multiple hazard impacts, as the Caribbean remains the second most hazard prone region in the world.

“With Climate Change, we are already seeing an increase in frequency and intensity of major hurricanes, as well as sometimes an early start and late end of the Atlantic Hurricane Season. It’s not business as usual, we have to readjust. This new norm highlighted the need for Comprehensive Disaster Management in the region including effective preparedness and response,” Lt Col Craig added.

Exercise SYNERGY received financial support from Global Affairs Canada through the Targeted Support to CDEMA Project for the third consecutive year. Senior International Assistance Officer at Global Affairs Canada, Natalie Hutchinson explained the importance of SYNERGY saying, “This really is a valuable exercise, positioned just before hurricane season and gives us a chance to reconnect and ensure the new faces are included and learning about how we will work together. Let’s embrace the scenario and ensure we are ready as the season approaches.”

The CAD $8 Million Project which commenced in 2019 has played a key role in enhancing knowledge management through the Caribbean Risk Information System (CRIS), supporting key staff roles to execute CDEMA’s mandate and most recently the execution of the Regional Search and Rescue Training Programme to strengthen the RRM.

This year, participants of Exercise SYNERGY came together for robust war-gaming discussions on the scenario of responding to a high-magnitude earthquake followed by an impending weather system. Partners were challenged to assess the scenario considering a myriad of factors including building damages, impassable roads and bridges as well as interruption to key utilities. Findings from SYNERGY will be used in the annual update and review of the Regional Coordination Plan.


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