Note: the following news item was released by the Caribbean News Agency (CANA).
ANTIGUA-MAPPING OF DISASTER-PRONE AREAS COMPLETED
ST. JOHN'S, Antigua, May 17, CANA - Antigua and Barbuda is now in a better position to minimise the impact of some natural disasters, a top disaster preparedness official said Wednesday.
This is as a result of the mapping of disaster-prone areas by the Organisation of American States (OAS) under the post-Georges Disaster Mitigation Project (PGDM) for the USAID-Jamaica Caribbean Regional Programme.
The types of hazards that were considered by the Natural Hazard Vulnerability Assessment are beach and inland erosion, inland flooding, drought, storm surge and high winds.
"We are going to have start immediately to make sure that the relevant studies and mitigation intervention take place from the very beginning when the design and the development of the property is conceived,'' said Deputy Director of Antigua and Barbuda's National Officer of Disaster Services (NODS) Philmore Mullin.
The mapped zones are contained in the results of a Natural Hazard Vulnerability Assessment for this twin-island state conducted by Trinidadian geographer Eva Hodgkinson-Chin.
"The project, besides having the output of these maps and facility scores, also created a lot of digital data for Antigua and Barbuda,'' she told participants representing a wide cross section of government and private sector organisations.
Hodgkinson-Chin further recommended that assessments should be done at intervals after mitigation and retro-fitting are done on buildings in vulnerable areas of both islands.
"These maps will be an important resource in guiding future development and investment to less hazard-prone areas of the country,'' said Rosemary Georges, spokeswoman for the PDGM Project here.
"This information will be valuable in identifying government buildings and facilities that need extra attention due to their vulnerability hazards,'' she added.
Georges said the same situation would apply in identifying existing facilities, communities and developments that are at risk.
A similar programme is being developed for neighbouring St Kitts and Nevis, two other islands that were severely hit by Hurricane Georges some years ago.
Delivering remarks at Wednesday's opening of the Natural Hazard Vulnerability Assessment presentation, Director of the OAS office of Antigua and Barbuda Cicely Norris commended government for setting up a National Mitigation Council, ``signalling its commitment to disaster mitigation.''
Norris urged that there be an inter-sectoral approach to disaster mitigation, involving policy makers, planners and developers, officials from key ministries as well as the private sector, home owners and the general public.
|USAID/OAS Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation: http://www.oas.org/pgdm||
Page last updated on 31 May 2001