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NEMA/UNWFP conduct Emergency Response Equipment Workshop

NEMA/UNWFP conduct Emergency Response Equipment Workshop

NASSAU, The Bahamas — Officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the United Nations World Food Programme recently collaborated to conduct an Emergency Response Equipment Training Workshop for First Responders from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and NEMA ’s In-house staff.

The training was in partnership with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and USAID, and is expected to further enhance NEMA ’s response capabilities in the aftermath of a disaster and/or an emergency by providing local emergency response personnel with the advanced expertise to be able to quickly establish logistics hubs in order to more effectively receive, organize and distribute relief supplies to affected islands and/or persons in the event of a disaster and/or emergency. The workshop was conducted by Ms. Kristin Pristupa, a Humanitarian/Military Interaction Officer with WFP, and Major Damain Bromley, Logistics Consultant/Trainer, WFP, and facilitated by Ms. Lisa Bowleg, Training Coordinator, National Emergency Management Agency, and Chief Petty Officer Romeiko Burrows, Logistics, NEMA.

“The first few hours and days are very critical in terms of assessments of course and getting in the relief supplies or the food or the medicine or whatever is required by the affected people and this logistics support function that we are working on with NEMA and the Defence Force will allow that to be scaled up immediately so that it can facilitate the wider disaster response,” Ms. Pristupa said.

“We have a number of units prepositioned here that were deployed as part of the Hurricane Dorian response in 2019 and this ranges from mobile storage units which are like very large temporary warehouses, (to) pre-fabricated office modular office units, generators, forklifts and lighting towers and all sorts of logistics equipment and the purpose of this really is to jumpstart the logistics response at the very beginning of a natural disaster. So this allows us to work with the government to immediately set up a logistics hub to be able to receive, for example, relief supplies, organize them and then to redeploy them or send them out to affected persons.”

NEMA Director, Captain Stephen Russell, said the multitude of skillsets offered by the men and women of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force are priceless to the country’s disaster management/response mechanism. “The Defence Force Act mandates them to assist in times of man-made and/or natural disasters. Therefore as an agency, we rely on their leadership, their strength in terms of their personnel, and their skillset,” Captain Russell said.

“As far as their role with NEMA, we have an Emergency Support Function (ESF) grouping, some 14 of them, and the Defence Force functions in at least ten or more of those groupings simply because of the skillsets in the Force. They assist in shelter management, in communications, and because of their maritime and air assets, they are automatically part of the Agency’s Search and Rescue component and any other duties they are called upon to perform. We know that we can depend upon them to be on the ground, in the forefront of those operations in terms of disasters and/or emergencies as with all of our other emergency support functions, and so building capacity, knowledge exchange is symbolic of the relationship between NEMA and the Defence Force,” Captain Russell added.

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