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CDEMA prepares containers to ship supplies to St. Vincent which have been funded by UNICEF.

CDEMA Strengthens its Regional Response Mechanism

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), says it remains in a state of operational readiness, following a recent updated prediction for an “above normal” level of activity for the ongoing 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.  

On August 11th, 2023, the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) explained in its latest outlook for the 2023 Hurricane Season, that due to current ocean and atmospheric conditions, its Climate Prediction Center had increased their prediction from near normal to an “above normal” level of activity.  

CDEMA’s Deputy Executive Director, Lt. Col. Kester Craig

“The outlook now includes a 70% chance of 14-21 named storms, of which 6-11 could become hurricanes, and 2-5 could become major hurricanes. The updated outlook also states that current conditions are likely to counterbalance the usually limiting atmospheric conditions associated with the ongoing El Niño event,” the official release said. 

According to CDEMA, since the forming of Tropical Storm Bret on June 19, the regional agency explained that a key component during this period is an effective emergency telecommunication system, which is monitored daily. Further, communication is maintained with the National Disaster Offices within the 19 Participating States, as required, to ensure readiness in the event of a hazard impact.  

CDEMA’s Deputy Executive Director, Lt. Col. Kester Craig said the agency’s Regional Response Mechanism (RRM) made up of several “Response Teams”, and drawn from individuals across the Caribbean Region, having been trained and placed on standby for potential deployment in the event any of CDEMA’s Participating State is impacted. He added that the Teams are; The Caricom Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU), Caricom Operating Support Team (COST), Caricom Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team (CDAC), Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT), and the Regional Search and Rescue Team (RSART)  

The senior CDEMA official noted that a key feature of the response mechanism this year, is a database of trained drone pilots who will be working closely with the Regional Search and Rescue Team to support Damage Assessment in the event any of the Participating States are impacted.   

“There are many moving parts, but overall, we have continued to train and strengthen the CDEMA System to support our Participating States to ensure safety of our people and assets across the region,” said Lt. Col. Craig.