The Vincentian | Resilience Project Launched

The Vincentian | Published | Oct 23, 2014

This country is one of the most vulnerable countries in the world to natural disasters and, over the last decade, has suffered more damage as a result of these disasters than in the previous 40 years.

This startling fact was revealed at the launch of the Pan-American Development Foundation’s (PADF) ‘Resilience Livelihoods’ project on Tuesday.

Through the project, the PADF will train youth in the area of risk reduction associated with climate change and natural disasters, as well as provide them with opportunities to make their communities more resilient.

It is being implemented in St Vincent and the Grenadines at a cost of US$300,000, and is being facilitated through the Embassy of Taiwan.

The project is expected to focus in three communities, Georgetown, Bequia and the Cumberland Valley.

According to Camillo Gonsalves, Minister of Foreign Affairs, this country has been historically vulnerable, however that vulnerability was now increasing.

In the last four years alone, this country has experienced annual disasters, all of which have brought with them double digit losses to the country’s Gross Domestic Product.

Climate change now ensured that countries like St Vincent and the Grenadines were extremely vulnerable to natural disasters, and according to Gonsalves, changes in the way we look at disasters will have to be implemented.

H.E Baushuan Ger, Ambassador of Taiwan, explained that his country’s vulnerability and own experience in dealing with the devastative effects associated with natural disasters, have impressed the importance of disaster reduction.

Ambassador Ger recognised that this was a new area where his government and people will be able to assist, and asserted, "We are very proud to be a part of this project to assist in the resilience project. It is another effort for Taiwan to enforce its ability to return to normal following disasters,” he continued.

Howie Prince, the Director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), said that a year does not go by when they are not called out to respond to a disaster in some section of the country.

And because the country was so prone to hazards, it has become difficult to look at the process of building resilience because they were so often responding.

"But we have to look at what we can do, while we are rebuilding, to build the resilience of our people and facilities,” Prince said, and pointed to the need for "a mind-set and a change in the culture and the thinking of our people to the way they do business,.” If the effort is to be successful.