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National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Month

Purpose of the National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Month

The strategic purpose of declaring a National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Month (NDPPM) in Trinidad and Tobago, is to holistically increase our nation’s disaster prevention and preparedness and by extension, the country’s disaster readiness and resilience. 

While disaster prevention and preparedness are year-round activities, the month of May brings to focus the need to promote a heightened sense of awareness, preparation, and readiness.   May is particularly important because it is the month prior to the commencement of the Atlantic Hurricane Season, which is almost in alignment with the Wet Season.  Traditionally, this period is marred by significant loss caused by heavy rainfalls across the region, Trinidad and Tobago being no exception.  Losses from such hydro-meteorological hazards result in damages to infrastructure, loss of lives, livestock, livelihoods and reduction in the country’s revenue earning capacity.

Background

Across the global landscape, there have been increasing incidents of catastrophic disasters with wide-reaching consequences. Although Trinidad and Tobago has been fortunate to be spared from major disasters in the recent past, we must be cognisant of the potential vulnerabilities caused by worsening disasters, some of which are exacerbated by climate change.  This underscores the need for the national community to avoid complacency and develop attitudes that direct our consciousness to preventing, preparing for, and responding to disasters that emerge as a consequence of multiple hazards. 

The NDPPM is an innovation on our national disaster risk reduction and management landscape and it is aligned to national, regional and international strategic priorities.  At the national level, it supports Themes (I) and (V) respectively of the Vision 2030 National Development Strategy.  Theme (I) identifies Putting People First: Nurturing Our Greatest Asset while Theme (V) is Placing the Environment at the Centre of Social and Economic Development. 

At the regional level, the proposal advances the Caribbean Community's (CARICOM) Strategic Priority 3 - Building Environmental Resilience, as well as all four (4) priorities of the United Nation’s Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, which Cabinet agreed to adopt in December 2019.  These priorities are; 

  1. Understanding disaster risk;
  2. Strengthening disaster risk governance to manage disaster risk;
  3. Investing in disaster risk reduction for resilience; and
  4. Enhancing disaster preparedness for effective response and to “Build Back Better” in recovery, rehabilitation and reconstruction.

Theme

The theme for the 2021 NDPPM is “Disaster Preparedness Starts With You. Let’s Prepare Together!!!”

This overarching theme signifies a national call to action.  It places emphasis on the role that individuals, communities and organisations must undertake to put our nation on the pathway to disaster readiness and resilience.  Over the four-week period, the programme will place emphasis on the various societal groups commencing with the individual and family unit, the foundation of society. It will then progress to the other components. This is summarised below: 

  1. Week 1 – Individual and Family
  2. Week 2 – Civil Society Organisations (NGOs, FBOs etc.)
  3. Week 3 – Community
  4. Week 4 – The Public and Private Sectors, International and Regional bodies and the Southern Sub-regional Focal Point countries (Grenada, Guyana and Suriname)

Commencement Date

The month of activities commenced on May 1, 2021 and it was launched on the evening of Friday, 30th April, 2021 by the Minister of National Security, the Honourable Fitzgerald Hinds, MP, via a televised broadcast.

Highlights of the Month’s Activities

The following events briefly highlight some of the activities that will be undertaken during the month of May: 

  1. Seven things to do before the Wet & Hurricane Seasons.  These will be communicated to the public via audio messages and flyers.
  2. Spoken Word Competition.  Competitors will be required to prepare a video of themselves performing disaster-related activities.
  3. A Tsunami Tabletop Exercise.
  4. Community capacity building, which involves the construction of sandbag walls, the use of chainsaws and, light search and rescue training in vulnerable communities. 
  5. Roundtable media discussion on the region’s response to St Vincent and the Grenadines’ La Soufrière Volcano eruption, which also affected Barbados to a lesser extent. 
  6. Multi-Sectoral and Multi-National Tabletop Exercises. 

Calendar of Events:

Management of the NDPPM:

Coordinating Agency

Given its coordinating role as the National Disaster Office (NDO), the Cabinet designated the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM), a Division of the Ministry of National Security (MNS), as the national coordinating agency for the NDPPM. 

The NDPPM Committee

To ensure a whole-of-society approach is taken to these annual preparations and to ensure national focus is maintained on disaster prevention and preparedness throughout the year, a multi-sectoral committee was established.

The Mandate and Structure of the NDPPM Committee

The multi-sectoral committee is mandated to identify the multiple hazards that may affect Trinidad and Tobago and to develop and implement strategies to prepare for, respond to and recover from them.  This committee is accountable to the Cabinet, through the Minister of National Security, and is chaired by the Chief Executive Officer of the ODPM.  The committee comprises senior representatives of Ministries, Divisions and Agencies identified below as Participating Agencies and it may co-opt representatives of other organisations as necessary.  It will ensure a whole-of-society approach is taken during the NDPPM’s preparations, and maintain a national focus on disaster prevention and preparedness throughout the year.

Cross-functional sub-committees have also been established and they were responsible for planning and the execution of the weekly activities. Beyond the NDPPM, the sub-committees’ long term objectives include:

  1. Increase understanding and risk knowledge of hazards such as tropical cyclones, bush fires, earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, and mud volcanoes. 
  2. Strengthen awareness of defence mechanisms – Early Warning Systems, physical barriers, and disaster management strategies.
  3. Encourage integrated action to reduce and manage risk
  4. Encourage prevention and preparedness in a COVID-19 environment.

The objectives were designed to ensure a holistic approach is taken to strengthening our society against the multiple hazards that could affect us.

Participating Agencies

Trinidad and Tobago Defence Force 

Trinidad and Tobago Police Service 

Trinidad and Tobago Fire Service 

Trinidad and Tobago Prison Service 

The Strategic Services Agency (SSA) 

Ministry of Rural Development and Local Government 

Tobago Emergency Management Agency 

Ministry of Works and Transport 

Ministry of Public Utilities 

Ministry of Social Development and Family Services 

Ministry of Health 

Ministry of Finance 

Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs 

Ministry of Communications 

Ministry of Sport and Community Development

Ministry of Education 

Ministry of Energy and Energy Industries 

Water Resources Agency 

Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Services 

Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs 

Office of the Prime Minister (Gender and Child Affairs) 

National Commission for Self Help Limited 

National Security Council Secretariat, Integrated Threat Assessment Centre 

Tobago Emergency Management Agency

Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation

 

Spoken Word


(Click Here to View Our Rules and Regulations)

REGISTRATIONS AND SUBMISSIONS FOR THE SPOKEN WORD COMPETITION ARE NOW CLOSED. WE WISH TO THANK PERSONS WHO SUBMITTED THEIR SPOKEN WORD PIECES AND PROMOTED THE COMPETITION. 

 

 

In commemoration of Week 4 of the National Disaster Prevention and Preparedness Month (NDPPM) the public is invited to a live case study titled: A National Response to a Neighbour in Distress.

Hear from Strategic Decision-Makers, Local, National and Regional Disaster Coordinators, Business Leaders, Scientists and NGOs, on how they collaborated to rapidly respond to provide St. Vincent and the Grenadines with critically needed relief supplies in the aftermath of the La Soufrière Volcanic Eruption.    

Tune in to TTT at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday May 25th and Wednesday 26th for the live broadcast of the discussion or a Live Stream of the event on Facebook @tttliveonline

To participate in the discussion please call 1-868-622-4010

#DisasterPreparednessTT, #NDPPMTT, #LetsPrepareTogetherTT, #FamilyPreparednessTT, #TEMA, #MORDLG.

 

 

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