Monday 21 November 2022. Jimmit, Dominica – On Thursday 17, and Friday 18 November 2022, fifteen (15) emergency operators from communities across the island of Dominica attended training sessions at the Office of Disaster Management (ODM) facility in Jimmit. Most participants were volunteers on the management teams of the new purpose-built Regional Emergency Shelters (RESs) in Castle Bruce, Jimmit, and Layou along with other members of District and Community Disaster Management Committees.
The objective was to improve their understanding of volcano and seismic hazards in the Dominica context, in order to be more prepared. The training also focused on emergency communications, and how to make provisions for vulnerable populations in the event of emergency evacuation to the Regional Emergency Shelters because of a volcanic eruption or an earthquake.
Dominica has the highest number of potentially active volcanic centres in the Caribbean. The National Emergency Planning Organization (NEPO) of Dominica and the ODM are taking a proactive approach, by providing training for emergency operators to improve their knowledge and ability to manage emergency sheltering and communications in the context of volcano-seismic events, to reduce the negative effects on the lives of community members.
Participants in the training saw the value of the information on volcanos and seismic hazards presented to them, as it helps build community resilience. Information presented included Dominica’s volcanic and seismic profile, the hazards that would accompany an eruption in Dominica, and the areas that would be expected to be safe from major effects.
All participants recognized the importance of being always prepared for the possibility of non-seasonal hazards such as earthquakes and volcanoes. Emergency Communications Specialist – Joseph Jeffers Raymond, and Volcanologist Davitia James, as well as IOM Communications Assistant Maxine Alleyne-Esprit facilitated sessions during the two-day workshop. They expressed satisfaction with the participation of the trainees and their grasp of the concepts presented.
The IOM representative also expressed that IOM Dominica is pleased to be able to support the ODM in improving the preparedness and resilience of communities and is grateful to the USAID Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) for their support to the National Resilience Strategy of Dominica through this project taking early action for preparedness of communities.
This type of training activity will improve the ability of the emergency operators who participated to provide the appropriate life-saving support to people who might be displaced in the event of an earthquake, or significant volcanic activity. Communities will be better prepared to ensure that movement of people, including migrants and other vulnerable groups, takes place in a dignified manner, in line with the 10th Sustainable Development Goal (SDG 10) which aspires to reduce inequalities within and among nations, promote safe and orderly migration, and ensure that even the most vulnerable are provided for so that no one is left behind during humanitarian responses.