Haiti: CARICOM launches coordinated response

News and Press Release
Originally published
Bridgetown, Barbados, January 14, 2010 - 17:00 (CDEMA) - CARICOM has launched a coordinated response to Tuesday's 7.0 magnitude earthquake in Haiti. The response is being led by a regional high powered delegation including the Chairman of CARICOM, Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica; Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable David Thompson; CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington; Mr. Jeremy Collymore, Executive Director, CDEMA; Mr. Grantley Watson, the Regional Security System (RSS) Coordinator, and Mr. P. Desmond Brunton, the Vice President Operations Caribbean Development Bank.

The Honourable Bruce Golding, Prime Minister of Jamaica, who led a mission today in Jamaica's capacity as Sub Regional Focal Point for Haiti, will meet with the team later today before they proceed to Haiti tomorrow, Friday January 15 for high level discussion to frame the scope of CARICOM's support.

A 10 man technical team comprising representatives from the CARICOM Secretariat, CDEMA, UWI, (the Caricom Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS), RSS and Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC), will also be deployed to Haiti on Friday January 15, 2010 to support the political team and carry out the initial assessment.

The earthquake has resulted in catastrophic damage to the capital Port-au-Prince and significant loss of life. It is also estimated that approximately 3 million persons may be affected. The health sector is reportedly severely affected. The airport was also impacted and is open only for daytime operations and Both sea ports have been damaged and communication remains a challenge.

These missions will shape the regional response to the crisis and allow for coordinated and effective CARICOM intervention. Meanwhile, the Regional Response Mechanism has been stood up and search and rescue teams are on standby. Member states have also been addressing the coordination of national relief efforts to support the regional response.

CARICOM's efforts are also being supported by regional and international partners, among them are the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and U.S. Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), Canada Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART), International Relief and Development (IRD), United Nations, Canadian Red Cross, Inter-American Development Bank, UK International Search and Rescue Response, International Federation of Red Cross (IFRC), Oxfam International, CARE international. Meanwhile, Non CARICOM countries contributing to the effort include Venezuela, Italy, Guadeloupe, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Spain and France.

Note: The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency is the regional body charged with coordinating the management of CARICOM's response to disasters affecting its eighteen Participating States. Haiti became a member of CDEMA in September 2009.