A three-day National Emergency Management Organisation, Emergency Operations Centre workshop funded by the World Bank commenced on August 9th, 2022 with an opening ceremony at NEMO’s Conference Room. Stakeholders within the national response mechanism for disasters were present to boost capacity in this field.
Director, National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Michelle Forbes emphasised the importance of training in charting the course for the different decision-making bodies and organisations of NEMO. Forbes said the workshop forms part of NEMO’s overall thrust in bolstering disaster management and risk reduction.
The NEMO Director expressed satisfaction with the participation of key agencies from the Grenadine islands of Union Island, Canouan, Mayreau and Bequia.
Forbes alluded to disaster response in Bequia after the passage of a weather system recently, which impacted over twenty-five homes. The NEMO Director said, “this clearly demonstrates the importance of all involved having knowledge of the design and management of the Emergency Operations Centre.” Forbes revealed the facilitators of the training; a team from Ascenttra will journey to Bequia next week to join the district disaster team on island in buttressing the sustainability of disaster management efforts.
Project Coordinator, Economic Planning Roxanne John indicated that the initiative is being done through the Volcanic Eruption Emergency Project (VEEP). John said that at the end of the workshop participants should be more equipped and ready to respond to disasters.
Permanent Secretary, Ministry of National Security, Hudson Nedd reiterated the importance of the workshop in building disaster resilience. He thanked the World Bank for supporting this effort. Nedd added that gaps within the NEOC will be identified in an effort to strengthen capacity.
In-country Lead Project Coordinator with the World Bank Decima Corea outlined the World Bank’s long history of support for the government and people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Corea stated that the World Bank “has engaged on its core principles of impact, integrity, respect, teamwork and information.” Highlighting some of the areas the World Bank has provided support to this country, Corea listed agriculture, land reform, tourism, human development and disaster risk reduction and management.” Corea said the aforementioned is an indication of the World Bank’s commitment to assist this country in achieving its economic goals and building resilience.
The World Bank Project Manager said the US$42 Million loan is funding various parts of a restorative mission which is necessary for the rebuilding process, following the volcanic eruptions of April, 2021. The response include aspects of social resilience, restoration, transportation, water and emergency response. Corea said this training is geared at strengthening the disaster risk capacities in providing government with an overview of an EOC design and management requirement.
Lead Facilitator, Ascenttra, Ralph Nazzaro, said his team is honoured to be a part of the sessions that would provide recommendations for disaster risk reduction response, recovery and reconstruction. Nazzaro thanked Forbes and her team for their efforts and the World Bank for sponsoring the workshop.
The initiative is also being co-financed by the European Union funded Caribbean Region Resilience Building Facility which is managed by the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR).