Minister of National Security, with responsibility for Disaster Management within the Federation of St. Kitts/Nevis Dwyer Astaphan, told participants of an emergency telecommunications course to be generous in sharing the knowledge gained at the workshop with others.
“People of this country have a tremendous ability to join hands at disaster time and I encourage you to yield to the process, and to embrace its needs, knowing that no task is more precious in life than the charge to protect life and limb,” he said.
The minister was making remarks and declaring open the Emergency Telecommunications course, which is being facilitated by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) which was held at National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA) Headquarters at Buckley’s Site.
National Disaster Co-ordinator Carl Herbert said the two-day workshop is being held against the backdrop of many years of planning to improve land search and rescue capabilities of the nation’s primary emergency response unit, which is co-ordinated by NEMA. “This project seeks to improve the information base and skills of the unit to undertake emergency operations, should the need arise,” he said.
In her presentation, CDERA Programme Officer Evan Inniss said small island developing states within the Caribbean are especially vulnerable to the impact of natural hazards such as hurricanes, volcanoes and earthquakes.
“After the impact of one of these hurricanes, communications usually emerge as a vital element of the recovery effort,” she said.
Inniss sites limitations on emergency communications as one of the major challenges impacting the capabilities of emerging nations to effectively carry out relief efforts.
Over the next two days the emergency telecommunications workshop will train more than 20 people to support search and rescue and other emergency response efforts beginning with St. Kitts/Nevis, and then CDERA’s participating states throughout the region.
Minister Astaphan asked the participants to take the course very seriously. “Absorb all you can, and don’t keep it to yourselves. If each one of you can impart your knowledge you’ll have the ripple effect in the communities, which would increase your team base.