Dr. Leighton Naraine, Director of Institutional and Programme Development at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College describes a disaster risk reduction approach that helps consider emergency response activities.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — A disaster risk reduction approach that helps consider emergency response activities in light of existing and new disaster risks was launched on October 22 at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College (CFBC)/National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Education Programme.

Speaking during the launch, Dr. Leighton Naraine, CFBC Director of Institutional and Programme Development, said the programme was conceptualized by CFBC and developed in partnership with NEMA and funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).

The Research Triangular Institute (RTI), based in Costa Rica, represents the USAID BHA. RTI oversees the project with technical expertise and competencies in disaster risk reduction and management within Latin America and the Caribbean countries. It is under the Regional Disaster Risk Assistance Programme (RDAP).

Dr. Naraine said the hallmarks of the curriculum are professional educators, the trainees, and social milieu. He said the purpose of the programme is to build capacity through education. The program strengths relationships with organizations and people in communities

According to Dr. Naraine, the purpose of the program is to “build adaptive capacities vis-à-vis natural hazards and anthropogenic or human hazards that are ever-present and posing risks to human life, property and the environment of which we are a part.

Adaptive capacities will help us to build resilience in the event of a disaster relating to any of those hazards,” said Dr. Naraine.

The programme utilizes the CEDEMA framework consisting of six modules. Dr. Naraine, said the programme will be publicized and develop a cadre of trainees who will become trainers and further build capacity in the mainstream of the education system and in communities.

“The trainees will collaborate with the trainers now,” said Dr. Naraine. “They will become trainers and take it far and wide into the depths of our communities.”

The launch follows all the preparation needed before delivering the sessions that will begin on October 26.

Samantha Fox, Director of Student Services, gave remarks on behalf of the President of CFBC, Jacqueline Austin, who said, “sometimes the value for educational programmes can be overlooked, but we do hope that lessons learned in these sessions would be well received as it can be the difference between life and death.”

“Living in the Caribbean Region puts us at risk for a number of hazards such as earthquakes, hurricanes, volcanoes, and tsunamis,” she said. “While hazards are certainly not preventable their disastrous impact can be mitigated via preventative measures such as Disaster Risk Reduction Education such as we are launching today.”

CFBC received the only award granted to a Caribbean country among Latin America and the Caribbean. The call for papers was under the RDAP theme, “Use knowledge, innovation and education to build a culture of safety and resilience at all levels including supporting DRR in primary and secondary education, strengthening coping mechanisms for high-risk populations, institutionalizing higher education in DRR.”

Dr. Austin said that DRR Education can save lives, prevent injury and build people’s resilience to hazards.

“A disaster risk reduction approach helps us consider our emergency response activities in light of existing and new disaster risks,” she said. “This enables us to design or adjust our activities so that our people and communities become safer and more disaster resilient.”

“The programme aims to “provide the knowledge, skills and attitudes that the public needs,” said Dr. Austin. “Its goal is to develop resiliency to natural and manmade hazards that pose risks to lives, property and the economy in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

She noted that the programme will become a model for other Caribbean countries to adapt to reduce risks of potential disasters in their communities.

Dr. Leighton Naraine, Director of Institutional and Programme Development at the Clarence Fitzroy Bryant College describes a disaster risk reduction approach that helps consider emergency response activities.