As the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season approaches, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), with support from the World Bank, is launching an initiative to improve disaster preparedness and resilience in the region. Coined “Disaster Fighters”, the initiative includes participation from current and former cricketers, Caribbean musical talent, and other influential figures to spread critical survival messages related to hurricanes, volcanoes, COVID-19 and other hazards.
The initiative will be launched on May 31 with a musical production filmed in Anguilla, Grenada, Haiti, Saint Lucia and Trinidad and Tobago featuring cricketers and artists such as Sir Garfield Sobers (Barbados); Darren Sammy, Ricky T and QPID (Saint Lucia); Mr. Killa (Grenada); Tafa Mi Soleil (Haiti); Omari Banks (Anguilla), Kieran Powell (St. Kitts and Nevis); and Darren Ganga and Stacy Ann King (Trinidad).
Disaster Fighters will also engage communities on social media channels such as Tik Tok, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and critical prevention messages and materials will be housed on disaster-fighters.org.
“Many Caribbean countries have been battling the compound impacts of drought, COVID-19, volcanic eruptions and now hurricane season,” said Elizabeth Riley, Executive Director (ag), CDEMA. “We wanted to use an innovative, inclusive approach to ensure that communities are empowered with the necessary plans, information and tools to tackle the disaster impacts that we as a region have been facing.”
Tahseen Sayed, World Bank Country Director for the Caribbean, added: “The past year has been very challenging for the Caribbean. Although much of the region has managed the health effects of the pandemic through early actions, the socioeconomic impacts have been severe. It is more important than ever this year for Caribbean countries and people to be well-prepared for hurricane season. We are pleased to support this innovative new campaign from CDEMA that aims to help communities protect themselves and their livelihoods.”
Along with the communication outreach campaign, musicians and cricketers participating in the campaign will donate autographed items such as cricket balls, jerseys etc. to be auctioned as part of the initiative. Persons will be able to join the Disaster Fighters team and become part of meaningful global action, by purchasing these collectibles. All proceeds from sales will benefit CDEMA and local National Emergency Agencies. Funds will be able to be traced from the buyer to the country that benefits.
This innovative fundraising system is CDEMA’s first foray into non-fungible tokens (NFTs), a unique item that cannot be replaced by anything else, as a measure to raise support for regional disaster preparedness. Developed in partnership with Binance Charity, this system allows for persons from the diaspora and supporters of the Caribbean to actively engage in the initiative and the region’s fight against disasters. It also provides a ready source of funds for emergency organizations to access in the event of a disaster event.
“We’re proud to be part of this movement to help millions of people mitigate risk to their lives and livelihoods ahead of hurricane season. As communities look to rebuild in the wake of COVID-19, further destruction at the hands of disasters would prove especially devastating. NFTs offer a new and exciting opportunity to support such causes, raise money and have real impact through the medium of digital art. It’s empowering creators, athletes and musicians alike to convert their skill into social impact,” commented Helen Hai, Head of Binance Charity.
This initiative is supported by the Africa Caribbean Pacific – European Union Natural Disaster Risk Reduction (ACP-EU NDRR) Program, the Canada Caribbean Resilience Facility, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (managed by the World Bank), Binance Charity. The campaign was developed by the risk communications firm, Pacifico.