Caribbean Red Cross Disaster Managers meet in Trinidad

Daniel Ureña Cot, Programme Officer of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) Office for the Caribbean makes a presentation at the Disaster Management project planning meeting.

Daniel Ureña Cot, Programme Officer of the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) Office for the Caribbean makes a presentation at the Disaster Management project planning meeting.

Disaster Managers from Red Cross Societies of the English-speaking Caribbean and the Dominican Republic recently met in Trinidad with their Red Cross counterparts from outside the region as well as institutional partners and donors, to plan the way forward for the implementation of a regional Disaster Management (DM) Strategic Framework. Red Cross societies in the Caribbean are currently rolling out disaster preparedness programmes in communities that are particularly vulnerable to natural disasters.

The Barbados Red Cross Society was represented by Tamara Lovell, the recently appointed Disaster Manager.

Disaster Manager of the Barbados Red Cross Society, Tamara Lovell (right) listens as one of her colleagues makes a point during the two-day meeting in Trinidad.

Disaster Manager of the Barbados Red Cross Society, Tamara Lovell (right) listens as one of her colleagues makes a point during the two-day meeting in Trinidad.

Better regional preparedness requires greater regional coordination. As such Representatives of the CARICOM secretariat, the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) , the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) as well as delegates from the Red Cross Societies of Canada, Finland, France, Netherlands, Norway, Spain and the USA also attended the Disaster Management project planning meeting at CrewsInn, Trinidad from April 20th to 21st.

According to Kathleen Pinard-Byrne, Chair of the Red Cross Disaster Management Network, “This planning meeting has provided the opportunity to further develop our relationship with donors and partners, and to have open and frank discussions as to how best we can achieve the expected results of our Disaster Risk Reduction projects.”

Nicole Alleyne, Programme Coordinator for Climate Change and Disaster Management of CDEMA added, “This meeting gave a good overview of Red Cross work in Disaster Management and potential opportunities for National Disaster Offices in the Caribbean. We do similar work and we want to coordinate better. Climate change will have a significant impact on our region and our work.”

Left to right, John Kimbrough  of USAID –OFDA, Scott Dipretoro of American Red Cross Society and Daniel Ureña Cot of ECHO share lessons learnt from disaster management programmes in the region.

Left to right, John Kimbrough of USAID –OFDA, Scott Dipretoro of American Red Cross Society and Daniel Ureña Cot of ECHO share lessons learnt from disaster management programmes in the region.

The Caribbean region currently benefits from substantial support from donors, following the approval in May 2009 of a 5-year Strategic Framework. This support is especially important as it allows every Red Cross Society to receive some form of support, while emphasizing the need to build each National Society’s capacity for disaster management. Though each project is different, all were designed in line with the region’s Caribbean DM Strategic Framework.

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