Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation Project
Chronicle of Events: St. Kitts & Nevis

April 10-12, 2000, St. Kitts and Nevis, Initial Project Mission to St. Kitts and Nevis.

During the week of 10 April, the OAS conducted its first mission to St. Kitts and Nevis for the PGDM. During this mission, meetings were held with stakeholders groups in both St. Kitts and Nevis, with the subcommittee of the National Mitigation Guidance Committee (which will serve as a guidance committee for the project), with the Deputy Prime Minister, with individual technical agencies and with the insurance industry.

Key outcomes of these meetings include:

Documents: PGDM Introductory Slideshow (St. Kitts/Nevis) (MS Powerpoint, 625k)

June 13-15, 2000, St. Kitts, Hazard Mitigation Planning Workshop.   June 16, Mitigation Planning Workplan Development

Over forty individuals participated in this three-day workshop, including ten participants from Nevis. The goals of this workshop were:

The first 1 days of the workshop included presentations on the hazards prevalent in St. Kitts/Nevis (origin, history and scientific basis) and an approach to hazard mitigation and mitigation planning. During the rest of the workshop, participants worked in small groups to develop and present draft mitigation plans-at the national level and for selected sectors. Information gathered and goals developed by the small groups will be useful in the initial development of the national hazard mitigation policy/plan under the PGDM.

On 16 June, a half-day meeting was held to finalize a workplan for development of a natural hazards mitigation policy/plan for St. Kitts/Nevis between June 2000 and June 2001. More than twenty individuals participated in this workshop, the majority of whom had participated in the hazard mitigation workshop. Deadlines were set and responsibilities assigned for each step in the development of the national hazard mitigation policy/plan.

Documents: Mitigation Planning Workshop Report | Workplan Development Workshop Report | Initial Plan Development Timeline/Tasks

September 13-14, 2000, St. Kitts, Hazard Mapping Prioritization Workshop

The objectives of the workshop were:

The first day of the workshop was devoted to a review of hazard assessment methodologies, the identification and prioritisation of natural hazards and a data needs assessment for prioritised hazards. On Day 2, the methodologies for conducting simple and detailed vulnerability assessments were reviewed. This was followed by a data needs assessment for identified critical facilities at risk, and an exercise on vulnerability assessment. The latter part of the day was devoted to the development of guidelines for the terms of reference for the hazard assessment studies and a workplan for hazard and vulnerability assessments. Forty participants from both St. Kitts and Nevis attended the workshop.

Participants conducted a formal prioritisation exercise to identify the natural hazards of critical importance to St. Kitts and Nevis. The prioritisation exercise employed a methodology which ranked the hazards on a relative ranking scale according to their probability, frequency, area of impact and magnitude. Using this methodology, eight priority hazards were identified: wind (tropical storms), coastal erosion, flooding, volcanic hazards, storm surge, ground shaking, inland erosion (St. Kitts only) and drought (Nevis only). Similarly, the workshop participants identified the priority critical facilities for the PGDM: health, education/schools, utilities, transportation, tourism, agriculture, protective services, shelters, government administrative buildings, environment.

Documents: Natural Hazard and Vulnerability Assessment Prioritization Workshop Report

November 2000. Workshop on pre-disaster planning for post-disaster recovery

In the aftermath of a disaster, there is great pressure to repair damages and return society and the economy to "normal." The post-disaster period, however, also provides an opportunity not to just return damaged structures to their pre-disaster state, but to make them less vulnerable to future such events. The time pressures and difficulties in communication and transport in the post-disaster environment make it difficult to undertake the planning necessary to increase the resilience during reconstruction. Advance planning for appropriate reconstruction can assist in meeting this goal by ensuring access to appropriate building materials and by identifying key strengthening measures to be incorporated in any reconstruction activities. In this workshop, guidelines for pre-disaster planning for post-disaster reconstruction will be presented, as well as a sample plan for the housing sector. Other sectors will be guided through the process of preparing sector-specific plans.

Documents: Pre-disaster planning for Post-disaster recovery: national plans and reference materials.

November 13-17, 2000, St. Kitts, Multi-hazard Building Design Course

The PGDM sponsored a five-day course on Multi-hazard Building Design for engineers and architects from both countries at the Ocean Terrace Inn in St. Kitts during the week of 13 November 2000. This course was developed and conducted for the PGDM by the Council of Caribbean Engineering Organizations (CCEO). The objectives of the course were twofold:

Sixteen public- and private-sector engineers participated in the full week-long course. PGDM sponsored the participation in this course of Public Works Directors and Engineers from Antigua/Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis, as well as two participants from the Engineering Faculty of the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine. Private sector engineers from the project countries participated in the course free of charge. 

Documents: Multi-hazard Building Design Course Overview

December 5, 2000, Nevis, Mitigation Plan Development Work Session

PGDM supported working sessions on development of mitigation planning goals and objectives. In this session, the PGDM hazard mitigation planning consultant met with the plan writer and individuals assisting with the development of the hazard mitigation policy/plan. The purpose of this work session was to detail the process for developing goals and objectives and to review draft materials that have been completed, including capability assessment forms and historical hazard information. 

Documents: PGDM Mitigation Planning Page

January 15-26, 2001, Antigua, Building Inspector Training Course

PGDM conducted a two-week training course for building inspectors from Antigua/Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis. The objective of the building inspector training course was to provide public- and private-sector building inspectors with the expertise necessary to review buildings under construction for compliance with adopted codes. The course began with a 4-day introductory session for inspectors from banks, insurance companies and interested agencies, in addition to the building inspectors from the Development Control Authorities. The remainder of the course was primarily for government building inspectors and incorporated significant fieldwork. Over 25 individuals participated in this training course. The training course was quite well received. A series of recommendations for further strengthening the building inspectorate are included in the final report for this workshop. Highlights of these recommendations include:

Further details on the training course, resulting recommendations and training materials used during the course are included in the final report on this activity.

Documents: Building Inspector Training Course Overview

January 18, 2001, Antigua, First Roundtable on Hazard Mitigation in the Insurance and Banking Sectors

This meeting was held at the Cortsland hotel, Antigua, on 18 January 2001. All insurance companies and retail banking establishments currently active in Antigua/Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis were invited to participate. 31 representatives from the banking and insurance sectors participated from the two project countries (19 from the banking sector and 12 from the insurance sector). During the workshop, a three-year vision for hazard mitigation was developed and the following three short-term actions were proposed:

  1. Upgrading Public Awareness on vulnerability reduction cost/benefits, methods and procedures.
  2. Effective Dissemination, Application, and Enforcement of Building Codes
  3. Establish Effective Cooperation between Bankers/Insurers/Construction Professionals and trades people.

Documents: Hazard Mitigation in the Insurance and Banking Sectors

March 2001, St. Kitts and Nevis,  Building Code Sensitization Meetings

During March 2001, the PGDM organized discussion meetings with home owners and home builders in Basseterre, Cayon and Sandy Point (St. Kitts) and Charlestown and Gingerland (Nevis). The purpose of the meetings was to discuss with participants the problems of building a small house to be resistant to the natural hazards of hurricanes and moderate earthquakes which affect the islands, and to develop simple and effective ways of engaging persons to design the house and then to engage builders to construct the house. The intention was to provide the potential home owner with the information which would lead to appropriate decisions with respect to the resistance of the building to the natural hazards and importantly on the proposed cost of the building before signing a contract with the builders. The meetings were designed to provide this information in an interactive manner with the participants being involved in the decisions for building their house. The workshop presentations focused on the Buildings Guidelines, the use of which is mandatory. The processes for seeking building approval from the relevant Ministry and Development Control Authority were also discussed. 

Meetings were also held with members of the building fraternities in Antigua/Barbuda and St. Kitts/Nevis to discuss strengthening of the use and enforcement of the building code in both countries. A report of these meetings was produced, which contains the following recommendation:

The Building Boards of St. Kitts and that of Nevis should be strengthened on a temporary basis (at least six months) by the addition of an experienced development control engineer who will work with the Building Inspectors and show them how to deal with the examination of plans and inspection of construction of all types of development.

Documents: Building Code Sensitization Meetings page

March 2001, St. Kitts, Tide Gauge Strengthening

Under the project Caribbean Planning for Adaptation to Global Climate Change (CPACC), a tide gauge was installed in St. Kitts in 1998. This gauge proved to be particularly sensitive to the effects of severe storms. Under the PGDM, this gauge was hardened to increase the probability that the equipment can withstand the effects (and record information during) of tropical storms. The monitoring equipment was relocated from its original location on the concrete pier to the top of a steel gantry structure on the same pier. The tide gage was relocated to a more protected place with additional bracing. The additional elevation and additional bracing should increase the probability that the equipment can withstand a severe storm. The sea-level sensor was re-surveyed and the meteorological sensors were replaced with new ones.

Documents: Tropical Storm Hazard Assessment page

April 4, 2001, St. Kitts, Second Roundtable on Hazard Mitigation in the Insurance and Banking Sectors

22 representatives from these sectors in both countries participated in the second roundtable. The discussions focused on the approaches and mechanisms originally identified in the first roundtable, held in the previous quarter:

  1. Establish effective cooperation between bankers/insurers/construction professionals and trades people.
  2. Achieve effective dissemination, application, and enforcement of building codes
  3. Upgrade public awareness on vulnerability reduction cost/benefits, methods and procedures.
  4. Reduce reliance on the existing insurance mechanism

Each of these points were discussed and elaborated upon in smaller group discussions at the roundtable. The results of these discussions are available in the final report for the roundtable series.

During this roundtable, participants reported that, in response to the first roundtable, the professional organizations for both the banking and insurance sectors in Antigua/Barbuda and the banking sector in St. Kitts/Nevis had reorganized themselves.

Documents: Hazard Mitigation in the Insurance and Banking Sectors

July 2001, St. Kitts, Presentation of Hazard Vulnerability Assessment Results

With the assistance of a PGDM consultant, the geographic information system (GIS) capacity of the Government of St. Kitts/Nevis and the Nevis Island Administration was expanded under the project, through the digitization of basemap information, inventory and mapping of critical facilities and the incorporation of summary hazard layers from each of the PGDM hazard assessments into the national GIS databases in St. Kitts and Nevis.

To assess the vulnerability of critical facilities to natural hazards, the priority categories of facilities were identified and mapped. These categories included any facilities that functioned as a shelter; hospitals and clinics; government administrative buildings; airports and sea ports; power, water and telecommunication installations; oil and gas companies; protective services and the road network. Using the hazard GIS layers, those facilities that are at the highest risk to each of the mapped natural hazards were identified. The results of this vulnerability assessment were presented to the national mitigation committee in early July and at public meetings later in the month.

Documents: St. Kitts/Nevis Hazard Vulnerability Assessment page

July 18-19, 2001, St. Kitts and Nevis, Public Consultations on Hazard Mitigation Policy/Plan

Public consultations were held on the draft National Hazard Mitigation Policy/Plan in Nevis and St. Kitts on July 18 and 19, respectively. In both meetings, the overall PGDM project and the mitigation plan development process were described and detailed presentations were made on the goals, objectives and activities proposed in the plan. The hazard and facility vulnerability maps produced under the project were also displayed.

Documents: St. Kitts/Nevis Draft National Mitigation Policy and Plan page

August 14, 2001, St. Kitts, Final Project Handover Event

The final event for the project was held at the Ocean Terrace Inn in the evening of 14 August 2001. At this event, Kenneth Parker, OAS Director in St. Kitts/Nevis, delivered the final draft of the St. Kitts/Nevis National Hazard Mitigation Policy and Plan to the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis. Dr. Denzel Douglas, Prime Minister, accepted the document, which represented all activities and products of the PGDM. Remarks were made by the Prime Minister, Sam Condor (chair of the National Mitigation Council), Joseph Edmeade (Chief Secretary),  Sheila Lutjens (Acting Director of the USAID Caribbean Regional Programme) and Steven Stichter (PGDM Project Manager). Sir Cuthbert M. Sebastian, Governor General of St. Kitts and Nevis, and Vance Armory, Nevis Island Premier, were also present at the ceremony. In remarks in acceptance of this document, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis made a strong commitment to hazard mitigation and vulnerability reduction.

The 45 minute ceremony was followed by cocktails and refreshments. Approximately 60 people attended this event. 

Pre-PGDM Documents and Reference Information

USAID/OAS Post-Georges Disaster Mitigation:

Page last updated on 18 Sep 2001