Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Kervin Lloyd, representative of the Foreign Assistance Sub-Committee on the National Disaster Management Committee, said that humanitarian aid is critical after disasters and explained the process during the September 01 edition of ‘Working for You.’
“Procedurally, as soon as we get through the coordinating agency which is the [National Emergency Management Agency] NEMA, as soon as we get a report as to the initial assessment of the damage after a disaster, we immediately mobilize to contact the agencies who work with us regionally and internationally to give them a sense of what our immediate needs are,” said Mr. Lloyd, during his September 01 appearance on Working for You. “The long-term needs are going to come after, but our immediate needs are to preserve lives and to some extent property just after the disaster.”
Mr. Lloyd said that it is not only material assistance but logistical help.
“After a disaster, most persons are shaken up. Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that the persons who are assisting, coordinating, leading, after a disaster they too are not shaken. So, they have a very special role to play. First of all, they are leaving their families at home to sacrifice and come out to make sure that the rest of the country returns to a state of normalcy,” said the Foreign Assistance Sub-Committee representative. “They too have been impacted personally, psychologically and so on but they have to keep their wits about them so that they can perform the role to which they have committed through NEMA in returning this country to normalcy.”
The Foreign Assistance Sub-Committee representative said that the persons conducting the initial assessment play a vital role as they provide useful information that can guide emergency services in activities such as rescue missions.
“We in the Foreign Assistance Sub-Committee depend heavily on the persons who are tasked with doing the initial assessment of damage and so immediately after the disaster has passed, we have been keeping in close contact with our regional and international partners with respect to assistance as soon as we are impacted. We have been, over the years and in more recent times very frequently making sure that all our contacts are in place… we want to make sure that the names and contacts that we have in those assisting agencies, they are in fact, the people who we can readily call on if we have an emergency, a disaster.
He indicated that one of the reasons they depend so heavily on the persons carrying out the initial assessment is to streamline processes, hence, the assessment needs to be provided on time.