Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation

Objective 1 | Objective 2 | Objective 3 | Objective 4

Objective 3: Comprehensive national emergency shelter policies and programs established, with appropriate training for emergency and shelter managers in both countries

Emergency Shelter System Strengthening

National Emergency Shelter Management Policy/Handbook Development

Under a memorandum of understanding with the OAS and with funding from the PGDM, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) assisted both Antigua/Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis with the development of national shelter management policies and guidebooks for the implementation of those policies. As part of this assistance, CDERA undertook the following activities; all work was undertaken in collaboration with the national emergency management offices:

Documents: Emergency Shelter Strengthening page

Shelter Management Training

Both the National Office of Disaster Services (Antigua/Barbuda) and the National Emergency Management Agency (St. Kitts/Nevis) have the necessary internal training and experience to conduct shelter management training courses for the local shelter managers. To support local training efforts, PGDM provided both national disaster offices with 80 copies of the Emergency Shelter Management training materials, developed by USAID's Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance. With support from the PGDM, NODS organized and conducted a shelter management training course in September 2000 to address existing gaps in its roster of trained managers for designated shelters. Further shelter management training is planned once the shelter management policies and handbooks prepared under the PGDM are finalized.

Shelter Retrofit

In Antigua/Barbuda, the PGDM supported retrofit work on John Hughes School, a designated emergency shelter. Under this activity, the PGDM engaged a local engineer to review the structure, recommend retrofit works and supervise the implementation of the recommendations. The project covered the cost of the building supplies and materials required for the retrofit. The Antigua/Barbuda Public Works Department provided the labor for this activity.

In St. Kitts and Nevis, the scope of the structural vulnerability assessment was expanded in lieu of undertaking any direct retrofit activities under the PGDM.

Structural Vulnerability Audits

Appropriate building practices (design, construction and maintenance) are a critical determinant of the resilience of the built environment when faced with the stresses imposed by natural hazards. A thorough audit of existing buildings can identify significant vulnerabilities prior to the advent of a hazardous event. To identify retrofit needs and suitability for insurance, structural vulnerability assessments of selected government buildings and buildings used as emergency shelters were carried out in Antigua/Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis, with the support of the PGDM.

In these audits, the design, construction, maintenance status, locational characteristics and damage history of the selected facilities were reviewed. For buildings that have been designated as shelters, additional information was collected, including the building's capacity and availability of required shelter amenities. Based on these audits, the shelters were categorized for use (during a storm or only after a storm) or recommended to be discontinued as designated shelters. 

Documents: Structural Vulnerability Assessment page

Pre-project Baseline (December 1999)

Both Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis have existing disaster management offices, with functioning shelter management programs. Experiences with Georges and other recent hurricanes have identified weaknesses in the shelter management plans. Problems included poorly designed and located shelters, shelter staffing problems and inadequate understanding by residents of shelter use.

Currently, both Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis rely heavily on schools to serve as shelters. Since they were designed for a different purpose, these schools often do not have the appropriate facilities for shelter use. Additionally, many of the identified shelters would be inadequate for any extended use in this capacity. OFDA's shelter management training course was conducted in St. Kitts and Nevis during 1999.

Widespread adoption of hurricane-resistant construction and retrofit practices will reduce the need for shelters during hazard events, but a functioning shelter system will always be a critical part of any emergency management plan.

Expected outcomes (December 1999)

  1. Each country has developed and adopted national emergency shelter policies and programs.
  2. Each country has conducted shelter management course conducted for managers and local trainers.
  3. Each country has completed vulnerability audits for all schools currently identified as shelters and developed plans for undertaking necessary repairs.


Note: specific activities to be undertaken  in each country in support of this objective will be defined through the local disaster mitigation planning process.

Pre-PGDM Documents and Reference Information

USAID/OAS Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation:

Page last updated on 15 Apr 2002