Paramaribo, Suriname; November 10, 2008 (CDERA) - Suriname will participate in a €3.4-million (US$5-million) project financed by the European Development Fund (EDF) and being undertaken by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA). The announcement comes after a meeting in Paramaribo between representatives of CDERA and the Government of Suriname.
Suriname will join CDERA's 16 participating states, the Dominican Republic and Haiti in benefiting from the project, which will give the Caribbean's disaster managers the tools and expertise they need to respond to, and better prepare the region for, 21st-century disaster situations.
Specifically, the project will improve the region's disaster-based legislation, and increase the skill set and knowledge base of Caribbean disaster managers through disaster-related teaching and research. It will also support awareness campaigns that make disaster preparedness and prevention seem not just necessary, but also cost-effective and appealing to Caribbean people, and modernise emergency response and planning by giving the region's disaster managers increased access to computer-based technologies.
The meeting and its outcome support the EDF project's mandate to promote a unified approach to dealing with disasters in the region. This will minimise the duplication of effort and ensure that the limited resources available for disaster management in the Caribbean are used more efficiently and with greater effectiveness. Toward this end, the project is also undertaking language training programmes so that disaster managers from every corner of our multilingual region can better communicate and coordinate their efforts.
Suriname's involvement in the EDF project is timely because disasters there, and in the region as whole, are becoming increasingly destructive. For instance, torrential rains in May 2006 flooded an area in Suriname three times the size of Jamaica. The floods wiped out years of investments and infrastructure, displaced more than 25,000 people, and killed three. The country also experienced severe floods earlier this year.
The Government of Suriname will provide CDERA with a list of tertiary education institutions that may be willing to participate in the project's teaching and research activities. CDERA will provide the Government of Suriname with information on disaster legislation and on the policy requirements for joining the agency. CDERA will also share information on early warning systems that will assist Suriname with its recurring flooding problem.
CDERA was represented at the meeting by its Coordinator, Jeremy Collymore, and the Project Head, Alexcia Cooke. Suriname was represented by its Minister of Defence, Ivan Christiaan Fernald, and the Coordinator of the country's National Coordination Centre for Disaster Relief, Jerry Slijngard. Thania Chin-A-Lin, Suriname's Deputy National Authorising Officer, and Lydia Brewster, the Senior Policy Advisor in the country's Ministry of Planning and Development, also participated in the discussions.