The communities targeted under the present action are located in low lying coastal areas, and are therefore particularly vulnerable to rapidly forming events generating flood both from rainfall and from coastal hazards such as storm surges. Tsunamis are also a threat which tends to be overlooked. The Caribbean is a region prone to earthquakes, and other phenomenon such as submarine landslides and underwater volcanoes (Kick'em Jenny offshore of Grenada and the Grenadines) are potentially tsunamigenic. In addition to a particular exposure, these communities have comparatively higher vulnerabilities caused by their lack of preparedness. Economic risks are also important since assets are concentrated in low-lying areas subject to flooding and coastal hazards. It is therefore up to community stakeholders to take an active role in enhancing their state of readiness, on a long term basis, as well as during disasters lead-time.
This Community Alert Project, financed by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection will be implemented in six pilot communities within three countries (Grenada, Dominica, St. Vincent and the Grenadines) to enhance community resilience and demonstrate a coherent approach to emergency alerting. This project will seek to specifically:
- Improve awareness to natural hazards and the associated preparation and response protocols in 6 pilot communities.
- Demonstrate the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) as a process to improve community alerting with a view to wider application within the pilot countries and other Caribbean states.
On completion of it is expected that this initiative will result in:
- Improved awareness in pilot communities to natural hazards through enhanced public education and awareness building initiatives
- Reduced vulnerability of pilot communities to natural hazards through the enhanced alerting protocols and processes including multiple warning media to realize wider reach
- Enhanced national capacities for public warning following improved capacity for public warning
The EWS community assessments led by the National Red Cross Societies and in collaboration with the National Disaster Offices are being undertaken in the pilot communities. Assessments had been completed for Marquis, Soubise and Grenville Grenada while that for Kingstown St. Vincent and the Grenadines was completed in June 2014.
Activities are ongoing relating to the development of the necessary protocols, perspectives and agreements to facilitate the CAP Based EWS. Specifically:
- Strategic approach for CAP including drafting & integrating perspectives on protocols and procedures have been shared with countries for adaptation
- Updated Anguilla Warning System protocol prepared and shared with beneficiaries for guidance in the preparation of their respective protocols
- Updated Radio Interrupt Unit placement agreement prepared and shared with beneficiaries for guidance in the preparation of their respective agreements
Additionally, and in consultation with community and national representatives, a draft communications strategy has been prepared and disseminated to country focal points.
The project successfully convened workshops in the beneficiary countries which sought to:
- Receive community driven choices for the warning dissemination solution (radio interrupt, RDS devices etc)
- Discuss and agree on specific inputs to be considered in the final design of the Common Alerting Protocol (CAP) based EWS (dividing the country into zones, warning system usage policy, role of broadcasters in respect to Emergency Alert Services Support)
- Receive feedback on the draft communications strategy
- Discuss and agree on communications/PAE products/services to be designed
- Continue to raise awareness around disaster management and alerting solutions
Finally, the procurement related to the hardware and software components of the CAP server has been initiated.