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August 6, 2021
SVG Red Cross conducts multi-hazard disaster workshop

MORE THAN 50 persons representing Community Disaster Response Team (CDRT) groups and other volunteers of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross Society (SVGRCS) have been engaged in training to better equip them to be the initial responders in their communities in the event of a disaster or hazard.

The SVGRCS said in a release that this was its annual multi-hazard readiness workshop which took place on Thursday July 29 at the NIS conference room. This workshop is part of the national society’s continued response to the Covid-19 pandemic, outbreak of dengue fever, the aftermath of the April 9 volcanic eruption and now the hurricane season which has been predicted by experts to be an active one.

The Multi-hazard readiness workshop was considered to be an event that was well over due and aimed to provide the participants with a platform for dialogue. It placed emphasis on the roles and responsibilities of the Red Cross as an organisation along with that of the volunteers and disaster response teams as outlined in the national disaster plan. The participants were able to build a common understanding of impact- based forecasting and warning services in SVG. They also looked at identifying the approaches and priorities for the 2021 hurricane season and were afforded the opportunity to provide recommendations for their community response.

A simulation exercise which focussed on the approach of a category three hurricane, was one of the activities done during the workshop.

President of the SVGRCS Bernard Morgan said the participants were “brilliant” and that the teams portrayed leadership, co-ordination, communication, and emphasised on an effective early warning strategy.

He was happy to see that the teams acted upon the mobilisation of shelters and other aspects of a response operation and noted that the significance of a reliable communication strategy and the importance of damage assessment were also brought to the forefront.

“The Red Cross as first responders, our volunteers are well trained in first aid, in disaster risk reduction matters, even in terms of light, search and rescue; we have the training. And our volunteers reside in the communities, so they are the first responders in those communities and the point is we operate within a disaster management system, we do not operate on our own” Morgan said.

The workshop also provided the platform for the review of the National Society’s response to the volcanic eruption, as well as other hazards such as landslide, flooding and hurricane.