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USAID/OFDA Newsletter Sep 2009 - Regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean, San Jose, Costa Rica

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DISASTER PREPAREDNESS

Caribbean Red Cross Program Transitions into Second Phase

A USAID/OFDA-supported Red Cross program to strengthen disaster preparedness in the Caribbean concluded its first phase in August and will begin phase two in October.

The program, "Readiness to Respond: Increased Disaster Preparedness through Enhanced Coordination and Community Awareness," is a joint effort between USAID/OFDA, the American Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, and Caribbean Red Cross societies.

USAID/OFDA provided more than $550,000 in support of the 18-month phase one of the program, focused on Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and St. Lucia, where more than 7,000 people were trained in preparedness and response skills.

"This training was put to the test when the Red Cross intervention teams and trained community members assisted with early damage assessments and relief distributions in the Guyana floods of December 2008. In Saint Lucia, individuals that participated in the Red Cross program acted quickly to share AH1N1 prevention information directly with communities as the virus began to spread regionally and globally," said program spokesman Nathan Cooper.

The $2.7 million phase two of the program will be launched on October 9 and is expected to last two years, focusing on Haiti, St. Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Bahamas.