WFP responders in front of EOC HQ building after Hurricane Maria

With another hurricane season underway, the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) has revealed plans to decentralize its operations.

An ODM official told DNO that plans are afoot to locate a mini Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and a warehouse in the village of Castle Bruce.

According to the ODM, this move will ensure that at the district level, there is some sort of storage facility and a point to manage a situation from the districts.

Construction and funding of these facilities will be undertaken by the Humanitarian Assistance (HAP) Programme of US southern Command and the USAID/United States Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. The project is already in the design stage by the US Contractors and the next step will be to subcontract to locals, the ODM official said.

He stated that the project will not be completed during the 2018 hurricane season but will certainly start before the end of the season.

Castle Bruce has also been chosen as one of the venues for the construction of two regional hurricane shelters based on the plans announced by the ODM. The other shelter will be located in Jimmit.

The Castle Bruce facility is expected to serve residents from the Kalinago Territory to Petite Soufriere and the one in Jimmit will serve the area which includes Tarreau, Mahaut and Massacre as well as vulnerable parts of the Roseau District catchment area.

The ODM says that the regional shelters are not meant to replace community shelters but to bolster hurricane shelter capacity in the areas in which they are located. It is expected that when constructed, the shelters will accommodate between 150 and 200 people.

This project is still in the planning stages and according to the ODM, it is expected that funding will be provided by the EU.

Acting local Government Commissioner, Glenroy Toussaint has said that over 50 percent of shelters were damaged by Hurricane Maria last September and some of them would not be repaired in time for the 2018 season.

This situation prompted Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to appeal to citizens with private homes to utilize them as hurricane shelters.