The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is commemorating the International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR) with a series of activities aimed at raising awareness about disaster risk reduction while highlighting how the department and the people of the BVI have been reducing disaster risk.
IDDR is observed annually on October 13 to celebrate how people and communities worldwide are reducing their exposure to hazards. The 2016 observance marks the launch of the new Sendai Seven campaign, an advocacy campaign featuring seven targets over seven years with the goal of saving lives, reducing disaster losses and improving the management of disaster risks.
This year’s target is reducing mortality with “Live to Tell” as the slogan.
In an IDDR message, Director of the DDM, Ms. Sharleen DaBreo stated, “Empowering people to be able to take more control over their lives in times of crisis is absolutely critical for reducing deaths caused by emergencies and hazard impacts.”
She noted that the department has been engaging programmes over the years to empower people to reduce their risks.
Ms. DaBreo said, “We continue to make consistent progress in our efforts to empower all individuals to reduce their disaster risk and strengthen their ability to prepare for, cope with and recover from hazard impacts. We accept that we cannot prevent the impact from some hazards and certain damage is unavoidable, however, through training, education, outreach and a comprehensive approach to disaster management, we have made and will continue to make a significant contribution to building resiliency in the Virgin Islands.”
The local campaign activities being implemented by the DDM began on Monday, October 10 and will continue until Wednesday, October 19.
Information and Education Manager at the DDM, Mrs. Viona Alexander-Smith, said “Our live to tell campaign is being rolled out using a multimedia approach to highlight disaster risk reduction efforts in the BVI and first-hand accounts by persons who have experienced hazard impacts.”
She added, “The campaign includes, the airing of Public Service Announcements (PSAs) on radio which began on October 10, a video message by the DDM’s Director, publications in both newspapers, pictorial on the BVI DDM Facebook page, an art competition for youth 12 – 18 years old and a video documentary on hazard effects encountered by residents including Obel Penn, Elton Georges, Margaret Boarde and Genevieve Myers-Harris.
The DDM Information and Education Manager also expressed delight in having private sector support for the campaign.
She stated, “We are pleased to have a telecommunications provider support the implementation of the campaign. Digicel BVI Ltd, has always been a willing partner in resilience building and hazard awareness initiatives by the DDM and by collaborating with us on this initiative, Digicel is sending a strong message about the importance of risk reduction and disaster resilience for the entire Territory”.
Public Relations and Sponsorship Executive, Digicel BVI Ltd, Ms. Katasha Melville said, “The safety of residents is of high importance to us so without hesitation we supported this campaign as it seeks to encourage disaster risk reduction which is beneficial to all of us. We know that having youths involved in these types of activities is a strategic way to spread information about personal resilience; it is for this reason that Digicel was keen on supporting the art competition.”
The DDM is encouraging individuals to visit BVI DDM page on Facebook to view the IDDR campaign productions and to also stay abreast with general information relating to hazards.
The observance of International Day for Disaster Reduction started in 1989, following the approval by the United Nations General Assembly to promote a global culture of disaster reduction, including disaster prevention, mitigation and preparedness.