Saint Lucia

St. Lucia: National Emergency Management Organisation Annual Report for 2001/2002

Part 1 Annual Report of the National Emergency Management Office April 1, 2001 to March 31, 2002

The National Emergency Management Organisation Office is that organ of the Public Service charged with the responsibility of orchestrating all aspects of preparedness and response to disasters and other emergency situations affecting the State. The Office coordinates the activities of the National Emergency Management Organization. This is a two tiered network of committees, which function at the National, and Local levels respectively.

The National Committees are:

- Emergency Works
- Information
- Health and Welfare
- Transportation
- Telecommunications
- Oil Spills
- Hospitality Industry Crisis Management Unit
- Supply Management
- Evaluation

The Local Committees are:

- Gros Islet
- Castries/C
- Castries/SE
- Castries/NW (Babonneau)
- Anse la Raye Canaries
- Soufriere
- Choiseul
- Laborie
- Vieux Fort/S
- Micoud/N
- Micoud/S
- Dennery/S
- Castries/E

The Disaster Preparedness and Response Act No. 13 of 2000, Part V: Obligations of Other Public Officers Annual Report to Director in section 12 states that Every Permanent Secretary and Head of a Department of Government shall supply annually to the Director in such form and by such date as may be required by the Prime Minister such information as may be requested by the Director for the purposes of sections 4(2)(a) and 8(2). In keeping with the act, part 2 of this annual report includes an assessment of the state of readiness of the Government of Saint Lucia for a disaster as reported by the Government Liaison Officers.

HIGHLIGHTS - 2001

April
Annual Training with Ministry of Tourism

In keeping with it role of both collaboration and advisory NEMO together with the Saint Lucia Fire Department conducted its annual sensitization campaign with small hotel owners. NEMO provided each participant with a copy of a model Business Plan.

April
Government Laision Officers meeting.

The Disaster Preparedness and Response Act 13 of 2000 specifically state that each ministry is to have a liaison to NEMO. In the year under review the officers were nominated and a series of meetings held.

April
NEMO publishes annual report for the first time.

Over the years NEMO has produced an annual report, which was submitted to the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister. The report reflected the work of the office for the particular time period. In 2001 NEMO expanded the report to include the organization and with the cooperation of the Government Printery the office printed and distributed the annual report.

May
ICS set up for JAZZ Festival

In what was a first for disaster management in Saint Lucia; NEMO together with the Emergency Services and the Tourism Board collaborated to review and confirm protocols for a joint emergency response during the 2001 Jazz Festival.

May 15 - 18
11th Board Meeting of CDERA

The Eleventh Regular (11th) Meeting of the Board of Directors of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) was held from May 15th 18th, 2001 in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos and was attended by representatives of the sixteen (16) Participating States. The Board Meeting was preceded by technical consultations, which focused on:

- The Assessment of Disaster Operations in CDERA Participating States,

- The Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy Review and

- The Multilateral Financial Institute (MFI) Disaster Financing in the Caribbean. The 12th CDERA Board Meeting is to be held in Saint Lucia.

May 28 to June 1
Seminar at the Seismic Research Unit (Trinidad)

The Seismic Research Unit of The University of the West Indies hosted a Workshop on Volcanic and Seismic Hazards in the Eastern Caribbean from May 28 - June 1, 2001 at the Hugh Wooding Law School, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago. The Workshop presented Disaster Coordinators, local and regional media personnel and other major stakeholders with up-to-date information on volcanoes, earthquakes and tsunamis in the Eastern Caribbean and appropriate emergency response actions.

June 5
World Environment Day

As the relationship between the environment and disasters begin to be understood, NEMO s mandate expands. As part of activities to commemorate 2001 World Environment Day NEMO was invited to be a member of a panel to discuss the relationship between the two disciplines at the studios of the Government Information Service

June 18 26
Intense training by FAVA/CA

The Florida Association of Voluntary Agencies for Caribbean Action, Inc. (FAV/CA) collaborates closely with a variety of agencies in a number of areas. For 2001 FAV/CA provided the experts to share their knowledge in the following areas:

- Incident command System (ISC) ISC is a mechanism which facilitates a multi-agency response. NEMO together with the Police and the Fire Department have begun introducing the system to disaster management in Saint Lucia. Reflecting a pyramid no one person is assigned more than six areas of responsibility.

- Damage Assessment This is one of the areas of great import after a disaster. It is on the report produced by these teams that needs lists are created, the dollar value of the crisis is determined and if a state of emergency should be declared.

- Disaster Planning for an aging society As disaster management becomes more in grained into the society special areas come to the fore. The needs of older persons were highlighted at this session.

- Training in Exercise Design The local committees are all now equipped with at least one member who can design an exercise.

- First Responders/Hazardous Materials (HAZMAT) The handling of Hazardous Materials is a specialized field and emergency workers were instructed in the protocols.

June 29
10th Meeting of the CDERA Council (Bahamas)

Saint Lucia is a member state of CDERA, which is an inter- governmental regional disaster management organization. The meeting was attended by the Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister s.

July 4
First test of the Emergency Broadcast System (EBS)

With assistance of the Government Information Service, NEMO tested the EBS. At a set time a tone followed by a statement first in English then in Creole and ending with a tone is broadcast. It is expected that the National Stations will relay the signal. Unfortunately to date many do not.

July

The Audit Department conducted its regularly scheduled audit of the Office of the Prime Minister. As an extension of this duty the Department took a random sample of local committees and conducted an Audit of the committees. The committees identified and audited were: Castries South East, Dennery South, Micoud North, and Vieux Fort South.

August 3
First Meeting of NEMAC

The Disaster Preparedness and Response Act 13 of 2000 makes provision for the National Emergency Management Advisory Committee. The Committee was asked to authorize the creation of the National Hazard Mitigation Council. At a second meeting of NEMAC the Chairman instructed the National Supply Management Committee to conduct an audit of supplies.

August 27

First Annual Meeting of the National Emergency Management Advisory Committee (NEMAC) With NEMAC in place the annual meeting was reconfigured to replace the annual meeting of NEMO, which required the attendance of the entire organization.

October and November

The months of October and November were dominated by crises. The Anthrax threat and the arrival of Dengue Fever type three. Anthrax: In a series of meetings ranging from meetings of the Deputy Chairman of NEMO with emergency services to meetings with trade unions were held. The hazard threatened to panic the society and the multi agency of the National Emergency Management Organization leant itself to a collaborative response. Dengue: While the Anthrax was a mere threat the problem of Dengue Fever had reached crisis proportions. The Acting Director of NEMO was consulted and eventually a monitory contribution was made. The situation had the potential for a partial activation of NEMO, however once reviewed it was deemed that it was not necessary. December NEMO received new staff with the appointment of Mr. Marinus Pascal to the post of Deputy Director (Ag.).

(pdf* report - 1.45 MB)