The University of the West Indies’ Seismic Research Center (UWI-SRC), in collaboration with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), will host a five-day training session with volunteers of the northern windward communities under the volcano ready communities project.
The project aims to prepare communities to manage potential impacts of La Soufrière Volcano and related hazards.
The “Volcano-Ready Communities in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines” project, targets 12 communities in the high-risk zones of La Soufrière. It specifically seeks to improve response capacities through training and risk assessment; develop a “Volcano-Ready” framework, and toolkit for communities; and create public education and awareness materials to be shared with schools, businesses, and residents.
“We want to ensure that people here can live safely and resiliently and enjoy their lives, so that when bad things happen, because of the environment, that [they] won’t be knocked back as badly,” says NEMO Director, Michelle Forbes.
Ms. Forbes further explained, “When we speak about ‘Volcano-Ready communities’, we’re speaking about it in the context of a volcanic environment. Yes, the volcano erupts from time to time, but the very nature of the volcanic landscape is such that it poses certain hazards. For example, all of the loose material around is great for crops and farming, but it means that when rain comes, it strips off the materials and creates flash floods. When you have a storm, because the land falls away so quickly, storm surge comes in and damages the coastline. So, you’re really in a multi-hazard environment.”
Following successful completion of the project, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines will be the first country in the Region to hold a “Volcano-Ready” designation.
The 12 communities targeted during the two-year project have been divided into two groups. On the windward side: Big Level, Colonarie, Fancy, Overland, Owia, Park Hill, Sandy Bay and South Rivers; and on the leeward side: Chateaubelair, Fitz Hughes, Rose Hall and Spring Village. The official project launch was held on 6th April, 2018 at the Sandy Bay Government School, and attended by beneficiaries of approximately six of the targeted communities.
“Communities are most affected by disasters and they are the first responders in the case of disasters. In some cases, they are even aware of the event before the central authorities know about it. Therefore, community-based disaster risk reduction should be at the core of any risk reduction effort.”
The project is being administered through CDB’s Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF), and is supported by the Government of Canada and the European Union.
The workshop will be held at the Modern Medical Diagnostic center at Georgetown. It begins at 8.30 a.m., on Tuesday 20th August. The workshop will run until Saturday, August 24th. Minister of Housing, Informal Human Settlements, Land and Surveys and Physical Planning, Hon. Montgomery Daniel will address Tuesday’s opening.
About the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund
The Community Disaster Risk Reduction Trust Fund was established by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), with grant financing from the Government of Canada and the European Union. The Fund finances community-based disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation initiatives at the local level across eligible borrowing member countries of CDB. To learn more, visit: www.caribank.org/programmes/cdrr1