Caribbean Disaster Mitigation Project
Implemented by the Organization of American States
Unit of Sustainable Development and Environment
for the USAID Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance and the Caribbean Regional Program


Partnership for Prosperity and Security in the Caribbean
Caribbean/United States Summit, Bridgetown Barbados 10 May 97

5. Disaster Preparedness and Response

We recognise that the Caribbean region is vulnerable to several forms of natural disasters including hurricanes, volcanoes, earthquakes and flooding. This vulnerability has been compounded by the geographic situation of the region, which makes the Caribbean Sea a transit area for many cargoes of a potentially hazardous nature.

We also recognise the important role of preparedness and mitigation in reducing the vulnerability of our states to such natural disasters. We pledge to continue to coordinate our efforts and improve our ability to detect, monitor and respond to natural disasters. We affirm the priority of investment in planning, preparedness and mitigation initiatives, to strengthen the capacity of countries in the region to protect themselves from disasters and to decrease the need for emergency response resources in the future.

We therefore agree that:

  1. The United States will continue to assist, whenever possible, in the provision of logistical support in disaster response, including search and rescue and the supply of humanitarian assistance;
  2. Unaffected countries will give speedy consideration to assisting affected countries in their rehabilitation process;
  3. The Caribbean nations will take steps to reduce damage by hurricane and other natural disasters, by encouraging effective building design and construction standards through the promotion of the Caribbean Uniform Building Code (CUBIC);
  4. The United States will provide technical assistance to support the building of a regional capacity for conducting natural hazard assessments, integrating these assessments into national development planning processes, establishing hurricane models for vulnerable countries, undertaking seismic monitoring of volcanoes—including underwater volcanoes—and training in the handling of hazardous materials during chemical emergencies;
  5. The United States will assist the Caribbean in exploring the availability and means of accessing disaster assistance programmes currently available in the World Bank and the IDB;
  6. The relevant United States agencies will provide training opportunities in areas such as the handling of hazardous materials, dealing with chemical emergencies and disaster prediction and forecasting;
  7. The United States and Caribbean agencies will cooperate to develop and promote common search and rescue protocols to govern medical evacuations, support logistics for humanitarian supplies, and overflight in search for survivors and survey damage;
  8. We will develop and support mechanisms and procedures for civil-military, public and multi-country cooperation in planning joint exercises and mutual assistance for response to natural and technological disasters in the region;
  9. We will continue efforts to maintain the Cooperative Hurricane Upper-Air Network; and
  10. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) will collaborate in defining further areas of technical cooperation.
CDMP home page: Project Contacts Page Last Updated: 20 April 2001