Wednesday, 23 July 2014

O’Malley stresses need for systematic review

Seven months after the Christmas floods devastated St. Vincent and St. Lucia, there is still yet to be a systematic review of the disaster management response to that event.

Addressing the opening ceremony of the Caribbean Disaster Management Consultation last week Thursday at the Hilton Barbados, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative, Stephen O’Malley, stressed that it was critical to reflect on the actions taken during past disasters.

“I do believe that one area that deserves more priority is the reflection on past events and the lessons learnt. The Christmas trough event was traumatic and in some cases fatal for the communities in the affected countries. A number of issues emerged which we have discussed in smaller groups but on which we have not yet systematically had the opportunity to reflect and therefore, I hope we will not go too much further into the current season, without undertaking that reflection. The danger of not doing that is that we could repeat mistakes that could have been made and avoided. It also gives the opportunity to build on the excellent practices employed by some agencies in responding to that crisis,” he added.

Meanwhile, Head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Barbados, Ambassador Mikael Barfod, echoed O’Malley’s stance.

He noted that the region needed to achieve a higher level of transparency and better governance in the disaster risk management sector and as such, improved collection and the sharing of globally comparable data on disaster losses and hazards were vital.

“We must adopt non-binding standards for advancing the implementation of the new strategy and we need periodic peer reviews – to learn from each other and help every country to strive for best practice. On this point, we also need to learn from past experience. As such, the EU regrets that seven months after the floods that impacted St. Lucia and St. Vincent, after-action reviews have yet to be conducted,” Barfod lamented. (JMB)

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