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Disaster doesn’t equal spending money

Participants at today’s talks.

Participants at today’s talks.

Being prepared for a storm, hurricane or other disaster does not mean you have to spend a lot of money.

That is the message Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Adriel Brathwaite, is sending to Barbadians today, as he expressed concern over the response to preparedness messages, particularly those issues during the hurricane season.

He made these comments this morning during the official opening session of the 2013 CDM [Comprehensive Disaster Management] Programming Consultation at the Radisson Aquatica Resort Barbados.

“I want to send a message out to my fellow Barbadians and residents that in fact being ready does not mean that you have to have a lot of money. Being ready does not mean that you have to [use] a lot of financial resources… Even in the absence of a lack of cash there are many things one can do in terms of being prepared,” he said.

Brathwaite told those present that Barbados’ model was one which encouraged people to be in a constant state of readiness. However, he noted that is not the case, and the most vulnerable parts of the country, and the most vulnerable individuals, were the ones who were also “last out the block” in terms of being ready.

Not satisfied

“I am not satisfied that we are getting our message across to our people; I am not satisfied that they are accepting our messages, [but] we have to continue to ensure that this [preparedness] message is communicated as effectively as possible.

“We need to ensure that persons, and all our partners, including the private sector and the public sector, that we play our respective part to ensure that as a country we are ready to respond to disaster be it man-made or otherwise,” the Home Affairs Minister stressed.

Noting that there was some alacrity in the response to Tropical Storm Chantal last week, Brathwaite said it provided an opportunity for Barbados to test its operational readiness, and served as a reminder that preparing for smaller systems was as crucial as for large ones.

“I wish to again publicly commend the emergency system in Barbados for a job well done and thank the Department of Emergency Management for its leadership in coordinating that process,” he said.

Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Ronald Jackson, also urged everyone to come on board with disaster preparedness efforts, noting that comprehensive disaster management required champions at all levels and at every quarter.

He added that while it was important to speak to risk reduction, it was also important to recognise that countries would also be judged by their ability to respond and manage situations.

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