June 19, 20131354Views

Wednesday, June 19The National Disaster
Management Council (NDMC) convened its annual meeting yesterday where members
received a detailed report on the State of Preparedness
of the Territory
for the 2013 Hurricane season.

The report, which
was prepared by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM), included pertinent
information on the Territory’s readiness, mitigation and planning, emergency
response capabilities and recovery coordination. According to DDM the
preparations for this season are well on the way and their public awareness and
preparedness programme is on-going.

During the
meeting the 2012
NDMC subcommittees’ action points were reviewed and the various
subcommittees of the council presented reports. Additionally, a presentation was
made, which focused on the progress of the 2009 to 2013 Virgin Islands Comprehensive
Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy and plans to move forward with the new 2014
to 2018 strategy and programming framework.

The meeting, which was chaired
by His Excellency the Governor Boyd McCleary, CMG, CVO and co-chaired by
Premier and Minister of Finance Dr. The Honourable D. Orlando Smith, OBE, was
held at Maria’s by the Sea conference room.

During his
remarks Governor McCleary said, “The meeting is being held in accordance with
the Disaster Management Act 2003.  It is
an important meeting where members can talk through matters related to the work
of the National Disaster Management Programme. 
It is important that we reflect on the work done over the past year and
provide guidance on how we can advance our efforts in the coming year.” 

Speaking to the council
members, the Deputy Chairman Premier Smith, said, “This meeting is important as
it allows us to focus on the preparations that are needed for the Hurricane
Season.  Traditionally we have responded
well to the impact of various hazards. 
We have seen from the presentations given here today that there are
several factors that we need to address. 
I very much like what is taking place and I believe that it is important
for processes such as the Hazard Vulnerability Assessments to take place to
provide building professionals with the information needed to design and
construct safer and more resilient structures.” 

The highlight
of the meeting was the presentation of reports from the various subcommittees
responsible for health disaster management; emergency planning; welfare and
relief distribution; public information and awareness; mitigation; transport
and infrastructure and emergency fund distribution. 

The meeting concluded with
the Council defining a number of key actions for follow-up. A complete report
from the meeting, including a statement on the level of preparedness of the
Territory, will be presented to Cabinet in the coming weeks.

The NDMC is established by the Disaster
Management Act, 2003. Its role is to review the national strategy for, and the
state of, disaster management in the Territory and make recommendations to Government.
The Premier has ultimate responsibility for the area of hazard mitigation and disaster
recovery (comprised of rehabilitation and reconstruction) while the Governor’s
functions cover the areas of preparedness, and response.