PRESS RELEASE: Do you feel your community is prepared to cope in the event of a disaster? Do you know what measures can be taken to reduce the impact of disasters in your community?
These are just two of the questions posed to residents in Cochrane and Laudat during a house-to-house survey conducted by the Dominica Red Cross Society (DRC), as part of a European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid department (ECHO) project being carried out across the region. The objective of the survey is to determine the state of readiness of communities to respond to a disaster.
This was followed-up with Vulnerability & Capacity Assessment (VCA) training conducted by the DRC’s Director General, Kathleen Pinard-Byrne and Keston Flemming from the Caribbean Red Cross. The exercise examined the likelihood or probability of the people, structures or systems in Laudat to be affected during a disaster and the resources, skills and abilities of the community to reduce the risk or respond and recover from a disaster.
Twelve individuals participated in the programme including two persons from St. Kitts & Nevis. The training, designed to reduce vulnerability and increase capacity, adopted a very hands-on approach and followed the principle of learning by doing. Essentially, the course involved mapping the housing and human stock as well as risks and hazards, capacity & resource mapping – documenting the physical and human resources available to Laudat, drawing up a Seasonal Calendar which highlights trends and events, a Historical Visualization which shows how the community has evolved over time and, later on, will involve focus groups with various sectors of the community.
Mrs. Pinard-Byrne said, “It is so important that the residents are involved; that we engage them every step of the way because coming out of this exercise will be a Community Disaster Plan, which they would have to embrace and take ownership of. We facilitate and they execute. It’s all about empowering communities so that they can respond to and recover from a disaster in the shortest possible time.”
A major component of the programme is capacity building, which allows persons participating in the training programme to use their talents and skills gained to conduct training within their own communities.
– Dominica Red Cross: