NEMAC fo­cuses on Emer­gency Re­sponse and Sup­port

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL -

Saint Lu­cia’s readi­ness for an emer­gency, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the hur­ri­cane sea­son, was the fo­cus of the Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee (NEMAC) meet­ing on Tues­day Au­gust 14, 2018.

The meet­ing, held at the Min­istry of In­fra­struc­ture and chaired by Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Ben­jamin Em­manuel, was at­tended by Prime Min­is­ter Honourable Allen Chastanet, Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Fish­eries, Phys­i­cal Plan­ning, Nat­u­ral Re­sources and Co-op­er­a­tives Honourable Ezechiel Joseph, Leader of the Op­po­si­tion Honourable Philip J Pierre, Par­lia­men­tary Rep­re­sen­ta­tive for La­borie Honourable Alva Baptiste and Di­rec­tor of the Na­tional Emer­gency Man­age­ment Or­ga­ni­za­tion (NEMO) Ms. Velda Joseph. Also present were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from sev­eral govern­ment min­istries, the Royal Saint Lu­cia Po­lice Force, Fire Ser­vice, Red Cross, Solid Waste Man­age­ment, SLASPA, WASCO, Luc­elec, Flow, Digicel and District Disas­ter Com­mit­tee rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

At the start of the meet­ing Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet ex­pressed the im­por­tance of plan­ning and build­ing re­silience. He noted that the past year proved that disas­ter pre­pared­ness was a re­gional is­sue and re­minded at­ten­dees that Saint Lu­cia must now also con­sider its role as a sup­port for the Caribbean. He re­capped in­stances of the sev­eral storms and hur­ri­canes which have af­fected the re­gion.

“We may be called upon to serve as a con­duit and sup­port for other is­lands,” said Prime Min­is­ter Chastanet, re­call­ing the back to back hur­ri­canes that af­fected our sis­ter is­lands, and nor­mal sources of sup­port in the United States. Saint Lu­cia was used as a hub for get­ting sup­plies to af­fected is­lands and was also called upon to take in stu­dents and to as­sist is­lands with the hous­ing of pris­on­ers.

“Our state of readi­ness is no longer limited to what we are go­ing to be do­ing on a na­tional ba­sis; we have also got to start think­ing of the ob­sta­cles we had last time and the po­ten­tial re­quire­ments that we are go­ing to need to make that work even smoother,” noted the prime min­is­ter. “Disas­ter pre­pared­ness has taken on a com­pletely dif­fer­ent scope and I am hop­ing that in our prepa­ra­tions, due con­sid­er­a­tions will be given to those is­sues.”

The prime min­is­ter also dealt with the is­sues of schools be­ing used as shel­ters and the ex­ten­sive de­silt­ing works which have been tak­ing place across the is­land.

Dur­ing the ses­sion the meet­ing re­ceived a pre­sen­ta­tion from the Saint Lu­cia Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ser­vice, was given the re­sults of a Com­pre­hen­sive Disas­ter Man­age­ment Au­dit and re­viewed the Liveli­hood Pro­tec­tion Pol­icy.

Var­i­ous agen­cies were also called upon to re­port on their in­di­vid­ual state of readi­ness.

Prime Min­is­ter Allen Chastanet (stand­ing) is adamant about Saint Luica be­ing pre­pared for disas­ter at home as well as help­ing other af­fected ar­eas.

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