Disciplined forces trained for CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit in Barbados
June 2, 2017
Disciplined forces trained for CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit in Barbados

Bridgetown, Barbados, May 30, 2017 – Thirty-one participants from disciplined forces, including police, military and fire services are taking part in the annual CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU) training, which is being held at the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) Coordinating Unit and the Headquarters of the Regional Security System (RSS) in Barbados from May 29 – June 2, 2017.

The CDRU is a specialized humanitarian response team, equipped to provide assistance to any of the 18 CDEMA participating states affected by natural or technological hazard.

Participants were challenged by CDEMA’s executive director Ronald Jackson to be bold, courageous and innovative in harnessing the capabilities required to respond.

During the opening ceremony, Jackson highlighted the importance of the CDRU in light of the increased exposure and vulnerability of the region to hydro meteorological events, potential seismic, as well as crime and security risks. He also said that there remains a challenge to the Caribbean Community in tackling the humanitarian needs after disasters, which further underscores the need for a coordinating unit to facilitate response.

“What we have done over the past 25 years and our responses most recently in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Haiti, our support after the 2010 earthquake again in Haiti and our operations in Dominica post Tropical Storm Ericka, only serve to validate that back in 1991, the leaders of the Caribbean got it right in terms of what we need to advance in this regard,” Jackson noted.

The CDRU is one of the specialized teams trained by CDEMA each year as part of the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM). The RRM, which is coordinated by CDEMA, is based on the collaboration and cooperation of key regional and international organizations, supported by a collection of agreements and protocols.

Director of Plans with the RSS Major Jeffrey Forde encouraged the participants to enjoy the training and learn as much as they could from the information that will be shared during the week. “Take in as much as you can, learn from the experiences, so that going forward, the next CDRU will be much better than this one, as we want to improve each year,” Forde added.

The CDRU is activated, mobilized and deployed by the RSS’s Central Liaison Office, in consultation with and on behalf of CDEMA. Its operations are guided by the CDRU Operational Plan, Standing Operating Procedures and a Memorandum of Understanding between CDEMA and the RSS.