UNITED NATIONS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME (UNDP) MEETING REPORT
Wednesday 15th June 2011
Antigua and Barbuda and other Caricom member states are being brought up to date with changes made at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to enhance the process to access emergency support.
Permanent Secretary (AG) in the Ministry of Social Transformation Worthene George and Director of the National Office of Disaster Services (NODS) Philmore Mullin attended a one-day meeting Thursday in Barbados which addressed the issue.
According to Mullin, there is a process established under a cluster system where like agencies are grouped to ensure greater effect and to reduce duplication. There is also a system for on-the-ground coordination of humanitarian assistance in impacted countries based on request.
Meanwhile, NODS has been assessing the status of the various sub-committees established under the National Disaster Plan to deal with critical areas. These include Public Information and Education, emergency operations and search and rescue, public utilities and transportation, emergency supplies distribution and health/welfare emergency shelter management to name a few.
Some of the recommendations coming out of the meetings are for continued review and update of public awareness programmes, providing the necessary support to district disaster coordinators to enable them to function effectively and improving communication among key agencies.
NODS is encouraging members of the public to be part of the disaster management process by becoming volunteers. Individuals can be trained in areas such as first aid, shelter management, damage assessment, relief management etc.
In related news, NODS welcomes its Acting Deputy Director Sherrod James, who previously held the position of Educator.
James, who started working at NODS since 2004, expects his new responsibility to be extremely challenging based on a number of longstanding issues to be addressed in disaster management along with new ones bearing in mind that resources are scarce.
Director of NODS Philmore Mullin says the new appointment, which is long in coming will make quite a difference in the operations of the department.
There are still some critical posts to be filled like Preparedness and Response Coordinator, Programme Officer and Database Specialist.