The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) is proposing a multi-million dollar project that would enable the region to step up its game in the areas of building resilience, saving lives, and creating resilient states.
This morning, CDEMA, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), and the Bjoern Steiger Stiftung Foundation signed a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate the provision of appropriate, timely, consistent pre-hospital care and ground, air, and technical rescue on a non-profit basis during acute events, seasonal hazard impacts, search and rescue, as well as daily emergencies in the public health sector such as motor vehicle accidents, road traffic accidents, domestic injuries and other medical emergencies in the Caribbean.
The collaboration among the three entities is comprehensive and regional targeting long-term sustainability of the system.
The signing took place at CDEMA’s Coordinating Unit, Lower Estate, St Michael, where the Agency’s Executive Director, Ronald Jackson, said such a project is crucial if the region is going to have an efficient emergency response plan.
Jackson said that as the agency contemplated the threat of a changing climate; one of the things that must be seriously considered is that the risk spectrum is growing beyond hurricanes and traditional experiences with seismic risk and public health threats.
“With more new emerging public health threats borne by mosquitoes, linked to climate change, with the pandemics and epidemics that are also ever prevalent, and pose a threat to the region, more and more we have to look to see how we can build
up our health sector response, in support of the broader life-saving ambitions that we have.
“We see this particular partnership and our attempt to attract investment, not solely within the context of hurricanes, tropical storms and earthquakes, but recognising that risk is not being expanded. We are in an environment where the threat is far-reaching. So we have to look to see how we can address these particular issues and that is certainly why we have framed this proposal,” he said.
Jackson further explained that the proposal would be looking at the region’s first responders capacity building not only to operate the infrastructure being contemplated within the project but also ongoing first responder capabilities.
He outlined that the proposed project has communication, rescue, and training components.
“The communication component speaks to a 911 centre where you can essentially receive emergency calls, and these are being dispatched to the first responders’ systems that are being put in place. Certainly, it provides an opportunity for all of the emergency management mechanisms across the Caribbean to piggyback on that particular infrastructure to ensure that we can efficiently deal with and dispense calls within an emergency context.
“So we are going to be doing training in that area, which is complimenting the training we are already doing in emergency telecommunications,” he said.
The Executive Director said the project is likely to touch all 18 CDEMA member states.
However, he explained that due to the estimated high cost, the project would be executed in phases where each country would be responsible for a different component.
“Certainly we are going to be looking at the Eastern Caribbean as an immediate focal point for the rollout once we raise those funds,” he said.