Martin’s Bay Community Focuses on Disaster Management

One Barbadian community is cleaning up its surroundings as a way of making it better prepared to deal with disasters.

A dozen members of the Martin’s Bay community in collaboration with the Barbados Red Cross Society and with funding from the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) were recently involved in a clean-up of the beaches and the water courses in the area as a means of preparing the community for disasters.

The group known as the Martin’s Bay Community Disaster Response Team (CDRT) has spent the last six months doing a comprehensive disaster risk assessment of their community so the team members are aware of the vulnerabilities, and the resources the community has at its disposal, in the event of a disaster. This Vulnerability Capacity and Assessment (VCA) is a tool developed by Red Cross which has proven itself as a useful means of mapping the risks and resources in communities.

The CDRT is a key outcome of this Red Cross project funded by ECHO aimed at building safer and more resilient communities in the Caribbean.

Members of the Martin’s Bay Community Disaster Response Team with the President of the Barbados Red Cross Society Dr. Raymond Forde (4th from right) pose for a picture with one of the signs that was erected by the team.

The ongoing workplan of the CDRT is a direct result of the VCA workshop completed late last year. During this process, community members identified hazards that could affect them, persons who might be at risk, and the resources that the community would have at its disposal for first-responders.

Some of the issues identified included poor drainage, improper disposal of garbage, soil erosion, sea erosion and land slippage.

The team is hopeful that by planting trees along the coast and cleaning up the gullies and beach areas, there will be a slowdown in the rate of erosion in the community. According to the team the rate of sea erosion in the last 20 years has been alarming.

Members of the Red Cross Martin’s Bay Community Disaster Response Team cleaning up the beach in the community as part of a project sponsored by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO).

The CDRT was joined by members and staff of the Barbados Red Cross Society including President, Dr. Raymond Forde and Field Officer, Deniese Dennis. According to Ms. Dennis this is the second community to benefit from this Red Cross initiative.”Charles Rowe Bridge in St. George also benefitted from similar funding”, observed Ms. Dennis. “It was good to see so many people showing their commitment to ensuring that this community is better prepared for disasters”, continued Ms. Dennis, “it’s not just hurricanes, but this project has used the ECHO funding to identify many hazards and the simple act of clearing the gullies and the beaches in the area will benefit the entire community.”

The multi-million dollar ECHO-funded project has been rolled out by regional Red Cross National Societies in 13 Caribbean countries. Two communities – Charles Rowe Bridge and Martin’s Bay have benefitted from the first phase of the programme executed by the Barbados Red Cross Society.

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