by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Nevis Disaster Management, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, hosted its monthly multi-hazards awareness campaign, which was implemented in 2017.
The monthly multi-hazards awareness campaign is currently being spearheaded by two target groups, Faith-based and School-based organisations. Denominations and schools are assigned a particular hazard in a given month geared towards spreading safety awareness and educating the general public about what should be done before, during and after a disaster strikes.
The Charlestown Primary School and the Wesleyan Holiness Churches were assigned to lead “Earthquake Awareness” in the month of January. According to the Senior Communications Officer at the Nevis Disaster Management Department, Jacob “Jack” Ngumba, the Faith-based organisations are not limited to Christian denominations, but other religious groups such as Hindus, Muslims and Rastafarians, as natural disasters affect everyone.
Some of the activities for January included but were not limited to an interview with Reverend Ron Daniel on Monday, January 30, a visit to the Wesleyan Holiness Churches on Sunday, January 29, and an All Schools Earthquake Drill on Monday, January 30, 2023.
The Charlestown Primary School, represented by Grade 6 students Natalie Durand and Jahkiem Liburd, made presentations about Earthquakes at the Youth on the Go Programme on Von Radio on Saturday, January 28. The programme also included an expert from the UWI Seismic Research Centre, Dr Rodrigo Contreras- Arratia, who shared that governments and disaster preparedness bodies should always be prepared for the effects of earthquakes in the region.
The UWI Seismic Research Centre has been monitoring seismic activities in the Caribbean since the 1950s; however, Dr Contreras- Arratia said that there had not been enough research into the patterns of earthquakes in the region.
“The science that we know from the Caribbean… we haven’t studied the area for a long time despite that UWI Seismic Research Centre has been working for 70 years, the earthquake cycles… we don’t understand fully how the earthquakes are going to happen, but we need to keep monitoring. Everybody needs to be aware of this, and we need to basically be prepared,” said the seismic expert on VON’s Youth on the Go Programme.
The Nevis Disaster Management Department issued a Multiple Hazards Monthly Calendar for Schools:
February; Landslides- St James’ Primary School
March; Tsunami- St. Thomas’ Primary School
April; Volcano- Joycelyn Liburd Primary School
May; Drought- Nevis Academy
June; Hurricane- Ivor Walters Primary School
July; Excessive Heat- Maude Crosse Preparatory
August; Coastal Erosion- Montessori Academy
September; Flood- Elizabeth Pemberton Primary
October; Comprehensive Disaster Management- all schools
November; Thunderstorm – Cecele Browne Integrated School
December; Fire- Violet O Jeffers Nichols
According to Mr Ngumba, the campaign aims to establish an effective participatory approach in individual and group awareness of Hazards and allow target audiences to be the voice of safety.