Disaster ready

Pastor Maria Gibson of the Rock Hall, St. Andrew team.

Six communities in Barbados are now better able to handle disasters.

This afternoon, Director-General of the Barbados Red Cross, Edmond Bradshaw, noted that over the last two years his organisation, along with the European Commission Humanitararian Aid Office and the International Federation of the Red Cross, funded the Community Disaster Resilience Training programme, aimed at equipping people to manage disasters.

As a result, residents of Charles Rowe Bridge, St. George whose communities had problems with flooding and Martin’s Bay, St. John which faced “soil and sea erosion, land slippage, overgrown vegetation and poor maintenance which could lead to flooding” developed and have documented programmes to tackle the issues confronting them.

This year, people living in Rock Hall, St. Andrew; Church Village, St. Philip; South District, St. George and Sherman’s, St. Peter were trained to tackle disasters and to take better care of their community.

About the programme, Bradshaw said: “A very important aspect of this expansion was to create an awareness among young people as to the wisdom of being responsible for the protection of the environment in which they live and in which they go to school.

“So this year we were pleased to have participate in the training, Springer Memorial, Lester Vaughan, Ellerslie and the St. Philip Primary School. So for Charles Rowe Bridge in St. George and Martin’s Bay in St. John the European Commission, the IFRC and the Barbados Red Cross, sponsored that project to the tune of $242,000.”

He also told the audience comprising members of the response teams who received certificates as well as those who did the first aid course, that this year’s project was funded to the tune of $530,000.

The Red Cross official said that Barbados had been fortunate this hurricane season to date to “escape any major disaster, and we hope that the success of this project will attract further support in the years ahead as the Red Cross tries to assist more communities and schools across Barbados in better preparing themselves to build a safer and more resilient environment in which to live”.

In her address, Deputy Director of the Department of Emergency Management, Kerry Hinds, said that continued collective effort and support was required as organisations in this area moved towards disaster preparedness and mitigation.

“I welcome the establishment of a trained, equipped community disaster response teams who hopefully will be fully integrated into the disaster district emergency organisations and in so doing strengthen capacity at the community level,” she said.

The community first responders were given emergency kits that include rubber boots, safety goggles, hard hats, rope, chain saws, shovels and fuel containers. (DS)

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