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Disaster Digest - final - The Department of Disaster Management

DisasterDigestJuly 2011A publication on relevant issues in disaster risk reduction


CONTENTSPage 49Disaster DigestPage 59Page 4 - Project Launched to ReduceVulnerability to Hazards in theCaribbeanPage 6 - A Tool for Climate ChangeAdaptation in the CaribbeanPage 11 - Towards Energy EfficientBuildings in the CaribbeanPage 15 - Time to Analyze and DefineNDOs Organisational StructuresPage 18 - The Interview with Dana VanAlphenPage 19 - Haiti: Moving from Emergencyto a Fragile RecoveryPage 21 - A Community BasedEcosystem Ecosystem Approach toDisaster Risk ReductionPage 28 - No Classroom NeededPage 31 - Domestic WastewaterManagementPage 36 - Business Continuity: TheHarneys ModelPage 57 - Disaster Management in theSocial Media AgePage 63 - Building in an EarthquakeProne Area - The CaribbeanPage 67 - Integrating HazardVulnerability Assessment Process intothe Development Planning ProcessPage 71 - Stormwater Management andControl in the CaribbeanPage 77 - The Development of theResults Based Management System forthe CDM Stategy and ProgrammingFrameworkPage 80 - Early Warning Systems in theBVI: Empowering the PeoplePage 83 - A Practical Education toOn the CoverPage 90Page 39 - Helping Caribbean CountriesUnderstand Hurricane Risks andEnhance their Preparedness duringHurricanes...Page 43 - Safeguarding House and LandBefore the Hurricane StrikesPage 46 - Health Disaster Managementin the Virgin IslandsPage 50 - Radar Eyes in the SkyPage 55 - Are Schools Being Preparedfor and Made Safe Against Disasters?Scientists on AnegadaPhoto by DDM


NTE d i t o r i a lThe Earth is Speaking. Are you Listening?Shhhhh. Did you hear that? Did you feelthat? Did you see that? The earth is talking.Are you paying attention?It is rare that a year goes by without amajor natural disaster occurringsomewhere in the world. Since the IndianOcean Tsunami that killed hundreds ofthousands in 2004, there have been manyother significant major disasters that willbe forever etched on our minds. As a youngman growing up in the Virgin Islands, I canremember the destruction caused byHurricanes David and Frederick in 1979.However, these two hurricanes werefollowed by a decade of mainly tropicalstorms. We were fortunate not to bedirectly impacted by many of the majorweather systems that passed close to ourislands. That is, until Hurricane Hugo struckin 1989. I certainly learned countlesslessons of preparedness following thisevent, as it struck close to home, affectingme, my family and my friends.In the Caribbean, we have seen destructivefloods and deaths caused by volcaniceruptions and earthquakes. Criticalfacilities have been affected by fires, someof which have been totally destroyed. Weare now witnessing the era of new healthhazards such as SARS, Bird Flu, Choleraoutbreaks and the deadly H1N1 Virus.During 2010, we have faced theconsequences of the manifestation ofchanging climatic patterns, which led toflash floods and drought conditions atunusual times of the year. We are alsobearing witness to the effects of poorlyplanned developments which have beenexposed by the floods, and the lack ofattention to development on steep hillsides,which resulted in quite a few disastrouslandslides throughout the region. We arecompiling impressive lists of "LessonsLearnt." In the future, when new measuresare realized to address these hazards, thereis still the need for research and the perusalof historical documents. The question is;are we creating these documents today, andfor whom are we creating them?Today, how many of our young people can appreciate thelessons that I learned, and prepare themselves as well? Weneed historical documentation of these events. After all, asour educators so often remark, if you do not know yourhistory, then your future will be uncertain. How manyrecurring publications are available in the region to capturethis history, to present the impressive work that was carriedout in past eras, and to document that which is currentlybeing undertaken? A further question I present is; whatpublications serve to document and consolidate the manyprojects and activities taking place among variousorganizations and partners throughout the region, presentingthis information in one document in a reader-friendly format,and which allows for a connection of all these seeminglyindependent and disconnected initiatives? This magazine isattempting to be the answer to those questions.The first issue of this magazine goes back to October 19, 1991when it was named Disaster News. Since then, the DDM hasstruggled to produce this magazine every two years, withcontent that is not only appealing for our local population, butdemonstrates the extent of the work taking place at thenational and regional levels in the area of ComprehensiveDisaster Management (CDM). As the field of DisasterManagement is given greater credibility in the halls ofacademia, there is a definite need for the development ofjournals that can present and preserve well documentedaccounts of disaster impacts and research taking place. Thetheme for this edition of the magazine surrounds thecapturing of best practices in Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).We are especially pleased to receive a plethora of submissionsfrom experts throughout the region. We encourage studentsand practitioners to make their contributions to thismagazine, which serves as a tool to showcase the manyactivities that are being carried out in our Region, and that arecontributing to vulnerability reduction.We encourage our readers to review the articles in thismagazine and to pay particular attention to the messages andthe information that is being put forth. These articles mayvery well serve to heighten your level of awareness andpreparedness, as well as contributing to your involvement inthis important field of study. We will continue to experiencethe many natural and technological hazards that threaten ourregion. We will likewise continue to hear of the impressivework being undertaken by National Disaster Offices andregional organizations that focus on ensuring that DRR orCDM is maintained from a lofty perch on the political agenda.The earth is speaking. The question is: Are we listening, andare we taking the appropriate action to be ready?Linton Leonard is the Information and Education Manager in the Department of Disaster Management – Virgin IslandsDisasterDigestEditorial BoardLAYOUT AND DESIGNLinton V. LeonardEDITORSSharleen DaBreoLinton LeonardCOPY EDITORSDaniel SinghSauda SmithCONTRIBUTING WRITERSGuy AubeSteve AugustineSachkia BarnesMarissa DaBreoSharleen S. DaBreoZamara FuentesVictor Huérfano-MorenoEkhosuehi IyahenCecil JeffreyDawn LeonardLinton LeonardZebalon McCleanGina Sanguinetti PhillipsPhilomena RobertsonCynthia RolliJoseph Smith AbbotLillian Soto-CorderoDirk WerleSimon YoungTony GibbsUNDPPAHOPRINTED BYSCRIP-J Printers - TrinidadFOR FURTHER INQUIRIESDepartment ofDisaster Management#3 Wailing RoadMacNamara, TortolaVirgin Islands VG1110Tel: 284-468-4200Fax: 284-494-2024Email: bviddm@surfbvi.comWebsite: www.bviddm.comMTRPAEDGovEeNPreparednessrnTmeOnFtDoISASTResponseRefcovtheeryEVRgirMniANAslIGMitigationEMEsdnaThe Voice of the Virgin IslandsEncouraging social fellowshipand Spiritual empowerment


Project Launched to Reduce Vulnerabilityto Hazards in the CaribbeanUNDP Resident Representative Michelle Gyles-McDonnough providing opening remarks at Project LaunchUNDP Barbados, the OECS and theCaribbean Institute for Meteorology andHydrology (CIMH) successfully hostedthe launch and orientation workshopfor the Italian DevelopmentCooperation funded (€3.5m) EnhancingResilience to Reduce Vulnerability in theCaribbean Project on 2nd and 3rdMarch 2011.This initiative takes an integratedapproach to vulnerability reduction andenhancing resilience to climate change,natural hazards and poverty by seekingto strengthen civil protection tools andsystems, and focuses on knowledgesharing and building linkages acrossCaribbean institutions, capacitydevelopment, and advancing theoperational linkages between climatechange and disaster risk reduction.This initiative covers the 10 islands ofBarbados and the OECS (Anguilla,Antigua and Barbuda, Virgin Islands,Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada,Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, SaintLucia and St. Vincent and theGrenadines).The main objective of this threeyear project is to strengthen civilprotection mechanisms throughcapacity development for early warningsystems (EWS), informationdissemination, and institutionalcoordination for disaster managementand response. On completion it isexpected that there will be:• A network of real-time decisionsupport centres for EWS throughreal-time sharing and use ofhydro-meteorological data• Strengthened national disastermanagement mechanisms• Support to enhancing regionaltsunami public awarenessprogramme in support of the EWSthrough the establishment of theCaribbean Tsunami InformationCentre (CTIC)National representatives fromdisaster management agencies andnational meteorological services fromBarbados and the OECS territories aswell as national and regionalstakeholders were in attendance at theworkshop as well as an Italiandelegation comprising representativesof CIMA Research Foundation of Italyand the Italian Civil Protection Agency.Participants were actively engagedin the two-day event where an overviewof the project was provided withsubsequent discussion on detailing the4 Disaster DigestJuly 2011two project outputs. The importance ofcapacity building for volunteerismseemed to spark the most discussion ascountry representatives learned howvolunteerism is incorporated into theItalian civil protection system, whichundoubtedly is one of the best systemsin the world. There was consensus thatthe effective application of volunteerstructures required systematic andinstitutionalized structures thatprovided mandates to these systems,and also enabled accountability andconsistency. It was noted thatvolunteers must be trained, equippedand acknowledged in order to beeffective within the disastermanagement system within the region.Most importantly, these discussionsprovided the necessary inputs forfinalisation of activities to be includedin the 2011 Annual Work Plan of theproject. One such upcoming activity isthe training on the decision supportsystem (DSS) for the EWS in Italy forCaribbean meteorological and disastermanagement officials.In addition to finalisation of thework plan, active participation in thistwo day event allowed the meeting toachieve its stated objectives specificallybeing: presenting an overview of theproject including the governancestructure; presentation of criteria forselection of pilot countries for theproject outputs; and identification oflinkages with existing projects whichthis initiative can build uponWith many stakeholders present anopportunity was taken to convene thefirst meeting of the Project Board on 4thMarch. The Project Board will providethe overall policy and technicalguidance and direction during theimplementation of the project.This project will be implemented bythe Caribbean Institute for Meteorologyand Hydrology (CIMH), with technicaland management support from theUnited Nations DevelopmentProgramme (UNDP) Barbados & theOECS; and the Caribbean DisasterEmergency Management Agency(CDEMA). The Italian Civil ProtectionAgency and CIMA Research Foundation(Italy) will provide technical support


Project Launched to Reduce Vulnerability to Hazards in the Caribbeanand coordination to the initiative.For further project details, pleasecontact:Dr. David Farrell, Principal, CaribbeanInstitute for Meteorology andHydrology, Husbands, St. James,Barbados Tel: +1 246 425 1362 Email:dfarrell@cimh.edu.bbMr. Ian King, Disaster Risk ReductionProgramme Manager, UNDP Barbadosand the OECS, UN House, MarineGardens, Hastings, Christ Church,Barbados Tel: +1 246 467 6032 Email:ian.king@undp.orgAlso visit the project’s webpage:http://www.bb.undp.org/enhancingresilience-to-reduce-vulnerabilityDr. Parodi from CIMA Research Foundation of Italy providing an overview on the National Civil ProtectionAlerting SystemJuly 2011Disaster Digest 5


A Tool for Climate ChangeAdaptation in the CaribbeanBy Simon Young, Ekhosuehi Iyahen and Gina Sanguinetti PhillipsWhile Climate Change is a globalphenomenon, its consequences are notevenly distributed throughout theworld. As they have fewer resources toadapt socially, technologically andfinancially, developing countries andsmall island nations, like those in theCaribbean, are among the mostvulnerable to the adverse effects ofclimate change. Because of this, it isanticipated that Climate Change willhave far-reaching effects on thesustainable development of theCaribbean region and may perhapsaffect the region’s ability to attain someof the United Nations MillenniumDevelopment Goals by 2015.Additionally, Caribbean populationsare largely concentrated in coastal areaswhere much of the infrastructure maynot be able to withstand thesignificantly stronger winds, deeperincursions from more forceful oceansurges, and heavier rains that are likelyto occur due to Climate Change. Theanticipated climatic changes willaccelerate the erosion of beaches,coastal land and protective mangroves.Houses, hotels and other buildings,along with roads and otherinfrastructure in the coastal zone arevulnerable, as are those who live andwork there. Despite greaterprecipitation during storms and otherpeak periods, more frequent and longerdroughts are expected in parts of theCaribbean this century. In recent years,many countries in the region haveexperienced drought, affecting access towater and lowering agriculturalproductivity. Thus, two economicsectors of critical importance to theCaribbean – tourism and agriculture –will be heavily impacted by ClimateChange.The vulnerability of Caribbeancountries to climate events is evidencedby the impact of hurricanes, tropicalstorms and flooding in the region. Overthe last three decades, the Caribbeanregion has suffered direct and indirectlosses estimated at US$700 million andUS$3.3 billion respectively, owing tonatural disasters associated withextreme weather events.Historically, the discussion aroundclimate change has been focused mainlyon mitigation with significant attentionpaid to controlling greenhouse gasemissions by the industrializedcountries. However, developingcountries have been successful in theirefforts to elevate the importance ofclimate adaptation in internationalclimate finance discussions which hasled to proposed increased funding foradaptation measures. For example, the2009 Copenhagen Accord called forfast-start funding of US$30 billionbetween 2010 and 2012, to be dividedappropriately between adaptation andmitigation (UNFCCC, 2010). The 2010Cancún Agreements included theintention of industrialized countries toraise US$100 billion in long-term fundsto support climate action in thedeveloping world by 2020 andestablished the new Cancún AdaptationFramework to allow better planningand implementation of adaptationprojects in developing countriesthrough increased financial andtechnical support (UNFCCC, 2011).Estimating the potential economicconsequences of the impacts of climatechange on Caribbean countries isdifficult due to varying global climatechange scenarios, limited geographicalprojections for the region and aninadequate inventory of vulnerableassets and resources in theseeconomies. Caribbean leaders anddecision makers have indeedrecognised the need for soundquantitative data to support thedevelopment of national climateadaptation strategies, plans andprogrammes. To facilitate this, theCaribbean Catastrophe Risk InsuranceFacility (CCRIF) launched a study forthe Caribbean region in February 2010to create a knowledge base whichwould provide valuable information todecision makers about the optimal useof limited resources for adaptation.Based on the Economics of ClimateAdaptation (ECA) methodologydeveloped by the ECA Working Group ,the study provides the facts and toolsrequired to develop quantitativeadaptation strategies that can beincorporated into national developmentplans to increase resilience againstclimate hazards. The fact base is builtaround two elements:• A risk baseline, providingtransparency on current and futureexpected losses from climate risksfor three climate scenarios. Theassessment of the future riskbaseline is based on the concept oftotal climate risk, i.e., the total futurerisk that could arise from adding theeffects of climate change andeconomic growth to the current risklevel• An assessment of adaptationmeasures that could be taken,including an analysis of the expectedcosts and benefits of risk mitigationand transfer measuresThe innovation of the ECAmethodology lies in its positioningacross different knowledge sectors,spanning climate science, the financialindustry and economic research (ECAWorking Group, 2009). The analysis isbased on joining four main elements:1. Climate Change scenarios basedon the most recent availablescientific evidence2. Hazard models forecasting theoccurrence of hurricanes or otherdamaging events3. Economic damage functionslinking the intensity of events toeconomic impact4. Value distribution modelsdescribing each country'seconomic and populationexposure to hazards in a granular,precise way6 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


The ECA framework poses five questions, each driving different sets of analyses as shown in Figure 1.Figure 1. The ECA Approach for total climate risk managementThe study focused on the first threequestions:1. Where and from what are we atrisk?2. What is the magnitude of theexpected loss?3. How could we respond?It was implemented by CCRIF andregional partners, including theCaribbean Community Climate ChangeCentre (CCCCC) and UN EconomicCommission for Latin America and theCaribbean (ECLAC), with analyticalsupport provided by McKinsey &Company and by Swiss Re, whodeveloped the loss assessment model.The first phase was conducted ineight Caribbean countries: Anguilla,Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados,Bermuda, the Cayman Islands,Dominica, Jamaica, and Saint Lucia.The analysis focused on quantifyingthe potential impact of Climate Changeon three relevant natural hazards:• Hurricane-induced wind damage• Coastal flooding/storm surge• Inland flooding due to bothhurricanes and non-tropicalsystemsFor each country, the studyexamined the impact of the three keyhazards on its infrastructure (includinghousing) as well as the tourism andtravel industry and service sectors.Additionally, the study analysed theeconomic impact of climate change inthe agriculture sector for a few selectedcountries including detailed analysesfor Belize and Jamaica. An assessmentof the risk of salinisation ofgroundwater due to changes in rainfallpattern and rising sea levels in Jamaicawas also conducted.Key findings for the eight pilotcountries are:• Current climate risk is alreadyhigh, with expected losses of up to6% of local GDPs. This economicdamage is comparable in scale tothe impact of a serious economicrecession – but on an ongoingbasis.July 2011• Climate change could result in adamage increase equaling anadditional 1 - 3% of GDP in theworst-case scenario• Some countries can avoid up to90% of the expected damage byimplementing cost-effectiveadaptation measures• A balanced portfolio of riskmitigation and risk transfermeasure will be neededCurrent climate risk is already high,with expected losses of up to 6% oflocal GDPs. This economic damage iscomparable in scale to the impact ofa serious economic recession – buton an ongoing basis.The damage potential undercurrent climatic and economicconditions is already high, with annualexpected losses totaling up to 6% ofGDP in some countries. The expectedloss from the climate risks consideredvaries significantly across pilotcountries, ranging from 1% of GDP inAntigua and Barbuda to 6% of GDP inDisaster Digest 7


Jamaica. Such differences are driven bya diverse set of factors, including:• Topography/exposure to coastalhazards• Economic significance of particularlyvulnerable sectors (e.g., residentialassets which are typically less wellprotected against climate hazards)• Location (e.g., in “Hurricane Alley”)Among the hazards considered,hurricane-induced wind damage hasthe largest damage potential,accounting for up to 90% of the overalldamage. The contribution of coastalflooding/storm surge to total damage ishigher in low-lying countries. In theCayman Islands, for example, coastalflooding/storm surge accounts forabout 45% of total damage potential.Climate change could result in adamage increase equalling anadditional 1 - 3% of GDP in theworst-case scenarioOn a local scale, climate change canseverely modify the risk profile of acountry by impacting:• Local sea levels• Hurricane intensity• Precipitation patterns• Temperature patternsIn the study’s high climate changescenario, sea levels may rise by up to15mm/year (excluding local geologicaleffects such as uplift/subsidence), andwind speeds may increase byapproximately 5% as a consequence ofthe expected rise in sea surfacetemperature in the hurricane genesisregion.This is significant because evensmall local changes may have largeeffects due to the non-linearcorrelations between climate andhazards. For example, a 200-year eventin Bermuda might become a once-in-alifetime(75-year) event as a result ofthese seemingly small changes. Sincethe infrastructure in most countriescannot deal with the type of eventswhich we are currently affected by,increased hazards due to climatechange effects present a seriousdilemma in terms of the region’sresilience and capacity to cope.Overall, expected loss as aproportion of GDP could rise tobetween 2% and 9% in the high climateFigure 2. Expected Loss from climate risk today and in 2030Source: Enhancing the climate risk and adaptation fact base for the Caribbean (PreliminaryResults).CCRIF. 2010.change scenario by 2030. In absoluteterms, expected loss may triple betweennow and 2030, with wind remaining thesingle largest contributor. Economicgrowth is typically the greatest driver ofthe rise in expected loss, accounting forsome 60% of the increase in allcountries, with the exception ofJamaica, where it accounts forapproximately 40%. Figure 2 shows theexpected loss as a percentage of GDPfrom climate change today and underthe worst-case scenario for the eightpilot countries.Some countries can avoid up to 90%of the expected damage byimplementing cost-effectiveadaptation measuresDecision makers can select bothrisk mitigation and risk transferinitiatives to address current climatehazards and respond to the growingthreat of climate change. Riskmitigation responses are adaptationmeasures aimed at reducing thedamage. They include asset-basedresponses (e.g., dykes, retrofittingbuildings) and behavioural measures(e.g., enforcing building codes). Risktransfer solutions, such as catastropherisk insurance, are adaptation measuresaimed at limiting the financial impactfor people affected by distributing therisk to other players in the market. Risktransfer solutions are particularlyeffective in the case of low-frequencyand high-severity events such as oncein-100-yearcatastrophes by limiting thefinancial impact of these events.The study selected 20 appropriateadaptation measures and for each ofthese measures, quantified the benefits– i.e., averted losses – as well as costs,and computed a cost-benefit ratio. Thiscalculation accounts for cost of capital,investment costs and operating costs.Based on this cost-benefit analysis, thestudy compiled a portfolio of costeffectiveadaptation measures for eachcountry.In some countries, up to 90% of theexpected loss in 2030 under the highclimate change scenario can be avertedcost-effectively using risk mitigationinitiatives. However, there aresignificant differences across countries.The expected loss that can beaverted cost-effectively is driven byvarious factors, for example, the value ofbuildings and the share of expected losscaused by coastal flooding/storm surge.The best approach for each country isdetermined specifically by itstopography, exposure to hurricanes, andvalue and vulnerability of assets.8 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


In St. Lucia, for example, only a small share of the expected loss can be averted cost-effectively using risk mitigationmeasures as shown in Figure 3, the cost-benefit analysis of mitigation measures for St. Lucia. To address the residual riskbeyond this level, it is economically more effective to purchase a risk transfer solution than to implement further riskmitigation measures.Figure 3. Cost-benefit ratio for mitigation measures for St. Lucia. Source: Enhancing the climate risk and adaptation fact base for the Caribbean(Preliminary Results).CCRIF. 2010.A balanced portfolio of riskmitigation and risk transfer measurewill be needed.Together, the results of the studyillustrate the importance of a balancedportfolio of measures in each country. Itis important to underline that thefindings discussed above are basedpurely on economic considerations.However, decision makers have toconsider other important elements,such as safeguarding life and the humancost of misery. As a consequence, theresults of the study do not imply thatrisk mitigation should not be pursued inall countries. The findings suggest thatthe focus of an adaptation strategy incountries where only a small share ofthe damage can be averted costeffectively(e.g., Dominica and St. Lucia)should be on the following twoprinciples:• Using suitable risk mitigationinitiatives to protect human lives• Building on risk transfer solutions toprotect economic assetsThe study included an assessmentof the impact of climate change on theagriculture sectors with detailedanalysis of Jamaica and Belize, focusingon the most economically importantcrops. The analysis showed thatpotential changes in net productionvolumes in 2030 vs. 2009 range from -45% (sugar cane in Belize) to +10%(banana in Belize). The change in yieldsinduced by potential climate zone shiftis the main driver of the change inproduction volume. Crop yields are notexpected to change uniformly acrosscountries – while some regions getsignificantly less suitable for specificcrop types, others might not be affectedas much by climate change. Theanalysis also showed that the change inseverity of hurricanes has the potentialof increasing damage for all countriesand crops.Figure 4 shows the next steps thatcan be taken to put the final results ofthe ECA study into action. These stepsJuly 2011range from fully understanding theresults to designing a cost-effectiveportfolio of adaptation measures,accessing funding by submitting factbasedrequests, and acceleratingimplementation.The study provides a soundeconomic fact base that countries canuse to further develop their nationalclimate adaptation and disastermanagement strategies. For example,the study prioritises areas and sectorsat risk and provides clear inputs forbuilding an economically viableportfolio of adaptation initiativesdesigned to increase each country’sresilience. There will need to becompromise in terms of the measureswhich are eventually adopted as part ofa country’s adaptation framework andthis study can be a starting point forinitiating the painful but necessarydialogue which must be undertakeneither now or in the future.Disaster Digest 9


Additionally, the resultsof this study can be used bygovernments in multi-lateraland bilateral fundingdiscussions. Given thecurrent and future financialsituation of many developedand developing countries,access to internationaladaptation funding will beenhanced by a country’sability to support effectivebusiness cases with soundquantitative data. This studyprovides a relevant toolkit toaid Caribbean countries to dothis.Simon Young and EkhosuehiIyahen - Caribbean Risk ManagersLtd., CCRIF Facility SupervisorFigure 4. Potential Next Steps to Turn Findings into Action - Source: Enhancing the climate risk and adaptationfact base for the Caribbean (Preliminary Results).CCRIF. 2010.Gina Sanguinetti Phillips -Sustainability Managers, CCRIFCorporate CommunicationsManagerReferencesCaribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). 2010. Enhancing the climate risk and adaptation fact base for theCaribbean (Preliminary Results). http://www.ccrif.org/sites/default/files/publications/ECABrochureFinalAugust182010.pdfECA Working Group. 2009. Shaping Climate Resilient Development - a framework for decision-making.http://www.mckinsey.com/clientservice/Social_Sector/our_practices/Economic_Development/Knowledge_Highlights/Economics_of_climate_adaptation.aspxUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2010. Report of the Conference of the Parties on its fifteenthsession, held in Copenhagen from 7 to 19 December 2009. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2009/cop15/eng/11a01.pdfUnited Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. 2011. Report of the Conference of the Parties on its sixteenthsession, held in Cancun from 29 November to 10 December 2010.http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2010/cop16/eng/07a01.pdf#page=210 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


®By Marissa Da Breo, BSc, MAS, LEED APWell, here we go again, petroleumprices are going up, up and away! Noone should be surprised by this. Thereis a limited amount of petroleumavailable but there is a growing need forthe energy contained in oil and theslightest trigger can cause the price toincrease. This time increasing pricesare related to political upheaval withthe possible interruption of supply as aresult. This, of course, is happeningwhile the world is recovering from amassive recession. Petroleum priceswill continue to be volatile, so great isthe need and demand for this preciousresource. Economies are driven byenergy derived from fossil-based fuels.Some countries and people are lookingdown the line and realising thatreliance on oil will createserious issues when theresource is exhausted. Focusis shifting to renewableenergy, like solar, wind,geothermal power,wave and tidal power andbiofuels/biomass. All of theseresources are available in the Caribbeanand can be developed. Even if/whenthese renewable resources aredeveloped, one should always try toconserve energy.Making homes, offices andcommercial buildings efficient will havea positive impact on reducing energyuse and with personal and nationalfinances. Buildings are responsible fora significant amount of energy use.Making their walls, windows, doors andthe roof efficient will significantlyreduce energy use especially if airconditioning will be used. Think of allof the electronic devices that aregenerally found in homes, offices andcommercial establishments. Makingbuildings more efficient and usingefficient electronic devices will result insavings for owners and occupants, notto mention reduce petroleum importsand greenhouse gas emissions.Applying technology like motionsensitivelighting controls will help toreduce energy use but such features areexpensive and retrofitting will be costly.Something to keep in mind - it is morecost effective to include energyefficiency measures whenbuildings are being designedand constructed than to tryto make a building efficientafter construction. Windowplacement in relation to thepath of the sun during theday, for instance,influences coolingin the tropics andit is costly tochange theposition of awindowafter a building is complete. Simplethings like planting trees for shadingcan also be beneficial.Both residential and commercialstructures in the Caribbean can benefitfrom applying energy efficient and“green” building techniques. In thisregard, one of the first things toconsider when designing buildings inhot climates is avoiding the heatingcaused by the sun while making use ofas much natural light as possible. Directsunlight into windows and doors warmsup the interior of buildings andincreases cooling costs whilecompletely blocking the light withblinds, shades and curtains increasesthe use of artificial lighting whichincreases cost. Ander (2008) for theWhole Building Design Guide notes that“[d]aylighting is the controlledadmission of natural light into a spacethrough windows to reduce or eliminateelectric lighting. By providing a directlink to the dynamic and perpetuallyevolving patterns of outdoorillumination, daylighting helps create avisually stimulating and productiveenvironment for building occupants,while reducing as much as one-third oftotal building energy costs.” Prowler(2008) notes that “[i]n warm, sunnyclimates excess solar gain may result inhigh cooling energy consumption… andin nearly all climates controlling anddiffusing natural illumination willimprove daylighting. Well-designed suncontrol and shading devices candramatically reduce building peak heatgain and cooling requirements andimprove the natural lighting quality ofbuilding interiors. Depending on theamount and location of fenestration,reductions in annual cooling energyconsumption of 5% to 15% have been


eported. Sun control and shadingdevices can also improve user visualcomfort by controlling glare andreducing contrast ratios.” Theplacement of windows, skylights, solartubes, doors or any feature throughwhich sunlight can pass becomes veryimportant.As the sun rises in the east, sets inthe west and is directly overheadaround midday, windows and doors onthe east and west sides of buildings areimportant in determining interiorheating, cooling loads and daylighting.The United States Department ofEnergy (DOE) (2011, np) points out that“[t]he sizes and locations of windowsshould be based on the cardinaldirections rather than their effect on thestreet-side appearance. Although eastandwest-facing windows provide gooddaylight penetration in the morning andevening, respectively, they should belimited. They may cause glare [and]emit a lot of heat.” As the east and westsides of buildings can create interiorheat, it might be a good place to locateveranda's, porches, overhangs, shadingdevices and to plant trees and shrubsfor shading. The following illustratesvarious types of window shading.Figure Examples of Window ShadingSource: http://www.fsec.ucf.edu/en/consumer/buildings/homes/windows/shading.htmFigure Typical Efficient WindowSource: http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=windows_doors.pr_anat_windowIn addition to the importance ofposition of windows and other lightadmittingfeatures in relation to thesun's path, it is important that thesewindows are efficient if air conditioningis to be utilized. This may apply tocommercial and office buildings moreso than residential structures.Windows provide avenues for warm airto enter a building and for cool orcooled air to escape, so installingefficient windows is important inrelation to energy use. The technologyinvolved in windows has improvedgreatly over the past couple of years.Most efficient windows reflect heatfrom the sun while still allowing light toenter a structure and consist of two ormore layers of glass, specializedcoatings, advanced frames and filledwith inert gas. A typical efficientwindow is illustrated below.In conjunction with windows anddaylighting, light shelves can be used toreflect natural light farther into abuilding to reduce the use of artificiallighting. Light shelves are horizontalfeatures located on the outer walls ofstructures that have an upper reflectivesurface. Light that hits the reflectivesurface is bounced to the ceiling on theinterior then to interior spaces. Lightshelves can be placed on the exterior orinterior at or above eye level. Exteriorlight shelves also provide shading.Examples of interior and exterior lightshelves are provided on the followingpage.Although, not much thought is givento the roofs of buildings, they play animportant role in determining coolinguse and energy use in buildings, bothresidential and commercial.Reflectivity, the amount of sunlight thatgets reflected, and emissivity, therelease of heat, are factors thatdetermine the efficiency of roofs. TheUnited States Energy Star program (nd,np) notes that “solar reflectance is themost important characteristic of a roofproduct in terms of yielding the highestenergy savings during warmer months.12 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Figure Exterior Light ShelfSource: http://www.cce.ufl.edu/current/green_building/passive.htmlFigure 4 Interior Light ShelfSource: http://sustainability.williams.edu/category/buildings/green-building-basics/lightingThe higher the solar reflective value themore efficient the product is inreflecting sunlight and heat away fromthe building and reducing rooftemperature.” Roofing material thatreflects more of the sun's rays will nottransfer as much heat into a structure.The United States EnvironmentalProtection Agency (USEPA) (2010)Figure 5 Depiction of Reflectivity and EmissivitySource: http://www.coolroofs.org/notes that most roofs in the UnitedStates that are darker in color, are notreflective and can approach 200°F insummer. This intense heat contributesto increased cooling costs because theheat transfers into buildings. Bycomparison, roofs that are lighter incolor and made of reflective materialcan be approximately 70°F cooler andJuly 2011result in reduced cooling costs. Mostresidential structures in the Caribbeanutilize galvanize roofing and mosthomeowners probably paint their roofsto extend its life. Painting your roof in alight color will help with reflectivity andreduce the heat that is transferred intoa building. While white roofs are highlyreflective, it is not practical for everylocation. If you haveneighbors living above yourresidence, painting your roofwhite might create discordbecause of glare. Commercialand industrial structures mayhave better luck with a whiteroof. Installing a vegetated orgreen roof will also reduceheat transference as the sun'srays will be absorbed by theplant material and not touchthe roof. A depiction ofreflectivity, emissivity andheat transfer into a structureis shown on the left.In addition to making surethat windows, door and roofsare efficient, it is important tomake sure that appliancesand fixtures are also efficient.There are energy efficientversions of most electronicdevices. It will be costeffective to purchase efficientDisaster Digest 13


fixtures despite the higher pricesbecause they will save money in thelong run. It is well known thatfluorescent light bulbs are much moreefficient that incandescent light bulbs.The newer LED (Light Emitting Diode)light bulbs are even more efficient thanthe fluorescent bulbs. Incandescentlight bulbs are more affordable thantheir more efficient counterparts butthey use much more energy. PurchasingLED or fluorescent light bulbs will saveyou money. The same applies torefrigerators, televisions, ceiling fansand all other efficient electronic devices.People need to keep long term benefitsin mind when purchasing electricalfixtures and appliances.As noted, it is much more costeffective to include sustainable andenergy efficient measures during theplanning and design phase ofdevelopment. Simple things likeplacement and the type of window,solar orientation, window overhangs,landscaping and the type of roof canmake a difference in energy use invarious types of structures. Althoughpractical for structures other thanresidential, green or vegetated roofs canalso make a significant difference inenergy use. The sustainable buildingmovement has yet to take a hold in theCaribbean, but the present petroleumprice situation and the price surge froma few years ago should help.ReferencesAnder, Gregg D. 2008. “Daylighting.” Last modified November 5.http://www.wbdg.org/resources/daylighting.php?r=minimize_consumptionProwler, Don and Joseph Bourg. 2008. “Sun Control and Shading Devices.” Lastmodified May 23. http://www.wbdg.org/resources/suncontrol.phpUnited States Department of Energy. 2011. “Daylighting.” Last modified February9.http://www.energysavers.gov/your_home/lighting_daylighting/index.cfm/mytopic=12290United states Environmental Protection Agency and the Unites States Departmentof Energy. “Cool Roofs and Emissivity.” Retrieved March 18, 2011 fromhttp://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=roof_prods.pr_roof_emissivityUnited States Environmental Protection Agency. 2010. “Reducing Energy Use.”Last modified December 2. http://www.epa.gov/greenhomes/ReduceEnergy.htmwww.bviddm.com14 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Time To Analyse And Define NDOsOrganisational StructuresBy Sharleen S. DaBreoSince the early 1970’s, DisasterManagement Organisations (DMOs) inthe Caribbean have evolved from beinga single officer in the Public Servicehaving the responsibility of installingand maintaining preparedness andevacuation measures, to theestablishment of Departments orStatutory Agencies today. Althoughsome progress has been made inrecognising and outliningthe need for establishedprogrammes withinGovernments, many oftheseDepartments/Agenciesare still inadequatelyfunded, housed andstaffed. Millions ofdollars have beenprovided by donors andpartners over the years tofully establish DisasterManagementadministrativecurriculum within theCaribbean, yet today westill learn of the lack ofcapacity within DisasterManagementOrganizations whichsubsequently preventsthem from fullyembracing and implementing theneeded projects and programmes.USAID, for example, has providedsignificant funding towards the designand construction of dedicated facilitiesand warehouses to address theinadequacy of NDOs. Donor funds haveincreased tenfold and many newpartners have come on board. Still, verylittle has been accomplished withregards to enhancing the capacity ofNDOs, more specifically, the structure ofthese organisations.For many years, there was analarmingly low level of demand forDisaster/Emergency ManagementOrganisations to focus on improvingefficiency and, as such, they existed withlittle or no efforts to affect change inthis area. This may have been aconsequence of there not being a realTheadministrativesystems in anorganisationgovern anagency throughguidelines,procedures andpolicies, andinformationtechnology.appreciation of the fact that more wasrequired of these agencies, what wasspecifically required, the mostappropriate candidate to lead them, andthe type of skills and persons needed tosupport the Head of the organizations.Gerald L. Smith, in a paper titledObservations on Efficiency andOrganization, is quoted as saying “Theexistence of an organizational structureitself insured survival,and the members of theorganization began toperform so as to allow nochanges that would harmthe organization” (Smith,1995: 26). Ironically, as aresult of their heightenedvisibility over the yearsand the competition forscarce resources,especially in these hardeconomic times, nowmore focus simply has tobe paid to efficiencywithin NDOs. Further tothis, donors and partnersare also demandingevidence for theresources being offeredand applied and areestablishing monitoringand evaluationmechanisms to gather this evidence. Sohow do we address this issue ofincreasing efficiency?NDOs have experienced very littlechange to their organizationalstructures over the years, with theexception of some growth in theirphysical infrastructure and personnelnumbers. Healthy organizationalchange is encouraged to meet specificneeds, and the best organizationsfacilitate this by developing a culture ofperformance that is change oriented.This, then, goes beyond thereorganising of institutions merely toaccommodate the ease of collaborationthrough the familiarity of structuresand procedures. In today’s world,organisational survival becomes anecessary function of preservingstructure while incorporating sufficientJuly 2011innovation to remain competitive indynamic markets and volatileenvironments.The structure of an organisation isillustrated by the manner in which thevarious sub-units are arranged andinter-related. Structure is composed ofthree components: complexity,formalisation and centralisation. Inconsidering the design of organisationalstructures, one must determine theformal process that would be used forintegrating people, information andtechnology within the organisation. It isbest applied when it is able to match theform of that organisation as closely aspossible to its purpose or mandate(Autry, 1996). The design process thusallows organisations to establishcollective efforts towards increasedproductivity. Currently, for ease ofapplicability, the mandates of the NDOsare, by and large, now clearly defined inlegislation and, more recently, in policy.NDOs operate in unique and oftenvery unstable environments which,understandably, may present a greatdeal of difficulty in applying the typicaldesign structures to these types oforganisations. These types of agenciesrequire flexibility in their makeup; theymust also be adaptable to oftenimmediate and unpredictable changesin the environment. NDOs have beenheavily influenced by the command andcontrol structures of militaryorganisations and, more recently, by theintroduction of Scientific Management.Many of them are part of theirGovernments’ Public Services andwould more than likely have theirorganisational structures designed as abureaucracy in which authority andresponsibility are arranged in ahierarchy. Within these hierarchy typeorganisations, rules, policies andprocedures are uniformly andimpersonally applied to exert controlover behaviors and responsibilities.There remains a common tendency toinstall organisational goals intodepartments or units in which peopleexecute specialised functions, resultingin the unfortunate clustering of personsDisaster Digest 15


who perform similar tasks. This basicstructure has been continually appliedand maintained for many years becauseof its familiarity, predictability, andseeming rationality.In the NDOs, the factors that affectits management are complex andunavoidable, consisting not only of theearth’s processes, but also humanity’sindustrial activity and the disruption ofpeople and their complex social andeconomic systems. These systems areimperfectly understood even in normaltimes, yet the results of theirramifications extend into, and evencreate, the situations we colloquiallycall “disasters”. For the emergencymanager, the science extends beyondthe social and natural sciences thatprovide the foundation forunderstanding the causes anddistribution of hazards. The earth andatmospheric sciences speak to us aboutgeologic and climatic processes; thesocial sciences lay out people’sunderstanding of and response to thoseprocesses and, moreover, provideinsight into the social systems that leadto exposure to forces of nature, or thatlead to mismanagement of ourindustrial systems resulting in systemsfailure, hazardous releases andenvironmental degradation. This thusillustrates the complexity of the settingwithin which the head of NDOs operateand the inherent challenges placed ontheir organizations to define andsustain suitable, workable structures.Still, more can be said about howthe success of an NDO is affected by thescience of Emergency Management.Although it involves the application ofprinciples, its practice is undeniably adistinctive and particular kind ofscience, one that leaves behind standardmethods and well defined procedures ofits foundational disciplines to becomesomething more deeply rooted ininterpretation, judgment, and thenegotiation of ambiguity.According to the Public Entity RiskInstitute, the organizational structurethat is implemented to address disastersituations should be similar to thestructure that is used for day-to-dayemergencies; that is, as much aspossible, the disaster organizationalstructure should be an extension andexpansion of the lines of coordinationas needed. To the greatest extentpossible, personnel should continue towork with the supervisors andassociates that they work with everyday (Hoetmer, 2001).Although some may have soundpoints to argue that the functionalhierarchy design is best foremergency/disaster management typeorganisations, there are some distinctissues that must be considered. Theseinclude factors such as environment,flexibility, culture and change. Theorganisational structure must definethe formal relationships among peopleand specify their roles and theirresponsibilities. The administrativesystems in an organisation govern anagency through guidelines, proceduresand policies, and informationtechnology. These subsequently definethe process through which themembers of the organisation achievethe outcomes. Therefore, each elementmust work in concert to support eachother and to support the purpose of theorganisation, ultimately determining itslevel of efficiency.Designing the right type oforganisation can be difficult for NDOs,considering the involvement of thehuman factor and social systems thatexert tremendous influence on the final“look” of the institute. There are keysteps to be examined when consideringthe design for any organisation. Thetendency is to direct the activities of thegroup towards a common outcome andthe way this is achieved invariably hastremendous influence on theorganisation’s efficiency. Employingpatterns of activity that arecomplementary and interdependent aremore likely to achieve the desiredoutcomes. Activities that are unrelatedor independent will, in contrast,produce unpredictable, unintended andsometimes unfortunate results.Two main organisational types areassociated with NDOs; Hierarchies andthe more recent type, Networks.Network type organisations tend to beseen as advantageously fluid and basedmore on building relationships.However, Moynihan (2007) favors amore blended approach foremergency/disaster management typeorganisations that forms a model herefers to as a “Hierarchical Network.”There are several key concepts inOrganisational Design that must beconsidered in detail to adequatelydetermine the most appropriatestructure and its complementaryelements. The span of control definesthe range of employees who report to amanagerial position and, to be practical,this span must be manageable.Authority can be defined as the formal,ordained influence of a position to makedecisions. This authority may exist onlyto the extent where subordinates agreeto grant this authority or follow theorders from a superior position. Thekey concept of responsibility can beexpressed as the accepted obligation tocarry out an assignment or conduct acertain activity. An underlying tool ofinstalling responsibility is the keyconcept of delegation, which is theprocess of assigning a task to asubordinate with the commensurateresponsibility and authority to carry outthe task. Delegation is subsequentlychanneled through chains of commandthat define the lines of authority in anorganization, while accountabilitydetermines the responsibility for the16 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


outcome of the process. These form thebasis for key components of anyorganisational structure that isdeveloped for NDO type organisations.In recent years, the scale ofdisasters has been catastrophic and,with each subsequent event,Emergency/Disaster ManagementAgencies have been thrust to theforefront, coordinating the response tothese events. Their roles andresponsibilities are now more clearlydefined and their mandates haveexpanded to incorporate a number offactors related to natural and manmadehazard impacts, specifically todefine strategies for ensuringsustainable development and speedyrecovery. This results in highexpectations from Government and thePublic and, therefore, there is need forthese organisations to undergoinstitutional transformation to createstructures and cultures of positive,proactive change, reliability andefficiency. This adaptation process isnow leading to an emergence of thecommitment to a sustained review ofpersonnel and structure in light ofquality goals and a shift in focus fromcommand and control management tomanagement by enablement. As well, itillustrates a transition from authorityand reprisal to freedom andresponsibility. Organisations that havemanaged to generate these internalconditions are among the healthiestbecause they are not only productive ineconomic terms but also breed strongemployee allegiance because of therewards and excitement of working forthem (Smith, 1995).Unfortunately, little attention hasbeen paid over the years to designingappropriate organisations for NDO typeagencies, hence little has been writtenin high ranking management journals.Most of the literature specificallyrelating to these types of organisationsis practice oriented.This is why it is essential for NDOsto have a command system flexibleenough to embrace all the elementsnecessary for effective response (Sikish,2001). In times of emergencies ordisasters, it is necessary to appoint oneoverall Incident Commander who willdetermine how to utilize various skillsand expertise to achieve the overall goaldefined by several organisations. This isneeded not only for speed of decisionmaking, but to ensure that the IncidentCommander, the most qualified officialpresent, would be able to makeinformed decisions without the clutterof varying opinions that may lead toconfusion and indecisiveness. Thisinclination is not particular to any onejurisdiction. Every country in the worldhas some established system formanaging emergencies and disasters.The choice of any type oforganisational design should be inconsonance with the organisationalrequirements, strategy andenvironment. It has been suggestedduring meetings of the CDEMA Board,now the Technical Advisory Council,that a model organisational structure isneeded to allow countries to fullyunderstand the scope of the work of theNDO and to allow for appropriateselection of leaders and staff for theseorganisations. A consultancy isexpected to commence shortly todevelop model National DisasterManagement Office OrganisationalStructures for AdvancingComprehensive Disaster Managementamong the CDEMA Participating States.NDOs will anxiously await the outcomeof this assignment with a view towardshaving a guide to assess theirorganisations and to determine designchanges.Sharleen S. DaBreo is the Director of theDepartment of Disaster Management - VirginIslandsREFERENCES CITEDAutry Roy H. (1996) What isOrganizational Design?, InovusHoetmer, Gerard. (2001) “Characteristicsof Effective Emergency ManagementOrganizational Structures”, Public EntityRisk InstituteMoynihan D. (2007) “From Forest Fires toHurricane Katrina: Case Studies ofIncident Command Systems.” IDM Centerfor The Business of GovernmentSikich G. W. (2001) Incident CommandSystems: A Perspective on Strategic andTactical ApplicationsSmith Gerald (1995) Observations onEfficiency and Organization at Universityof the SouthSage will provide services designed to train individuals or organisations in various strategic planningand project management approaches, grant writing techniques and implementation stategiesemploying the Results Bases Management Framework approach. In addition, a full rancge of businessanalytical tools leading to the evaluation of management activities can be provided. Sage can assist withthe formulation of strategies and programmes.Our specialty lies in providing Public Sector organisations with the skills necessary to enhance theirplanning and management of operations, programmes and projects.Our typical clients will require on-site training in strategic planning and management, workflow processanalysis, database design and the application of other business analytical tools.“Sage can build statistical capacity to support and develop focused researchprotocols involving qualitative and/or quantitative analysis, which can aidin decision making at the strategic or operational levels”.For more information:www.SageConsultancyServices.cominfo@SageConsultancyServices.comJuly 2011Disaster Digest 17


InteriewTHEFirst posted in Issue 115 - April 2011 of The InterviewDr. Dana Van AlphenDr. Dana Van Alphen, the regionaladvisor for the PAHO/WHO emergencyresponse team, arrived in Haiti twodays after the devastating earthquake of12 January 2010. As the coordinator forthe health cluster, it was herresponsibility to work with some 400health agencies that came to providehumanitarian aid after the quake. Thecluster facilitated planning strategiesand established a clear leadershipsystem. The first days were difficult dueto the number of actors with differentlevels of experience in disaster relief,language barriers, logistics problems,and other factors. Coordination effortswere further challenged by the choleraoutbreak in October 2010. To date,cholera has caused the death of over4,000 people. Humanitarian assistanceand response efforts have beenhampered by severe weatherconditions, the cholera epidemic, andsocial upheaval. As the relief workcontinues, PAHO/WHO is determined toensure the population’s access to healthcare and the creation of a decentralizedhealth system to provide medicalservices.Haiti is facing one of the most severeoutbreaks of cholera in the lastcentury. What are the implicationsfor the health cluster given that theepidemic occurred when the countryhas not yet recovered from theearthquake?From the coordination point of view, theepidemic was less complicated thanresponse to the earthquake. When thefirst cases were reported there wereonly 20 partners in the health cluster.Many of these actors have experiencewith cholera outbreaks in other regionsof the world. Technically, there wasmore clarity about what had to be done.Coordination was not the biggestproblem; the problem was the way itwas portrayed by some agencies andthe information war that resulted.Suddenly, everyone was an expert. Onthe other hand, the population showedgreater antagonism during the epidemicthan during the earthquake. They“accepted” the earthquake as a naturaldisaster, but blamed foreigners andeven the voodoo church for the choleraepidemic.What response did the health clusterprovide to meet the population’sneeds?Cholera treatment centers were set upwith capacities ranging between 100and 400 beds and cholera treatmentunits were established close to existinghealth centers so that the centers cancontinue to function without becomingoverwhelmed. Oral rehydration pointswere also established to treat patientswhose lives are not in danger.PAHO/WHO worked with NGOs since itwas they who, along with Cubanmedical brigades, cared for the patients,ran the rehydration centers, and wentto the field. I would say that more than30% of the patients were seen by Cubanmedical brigades and 50% by Doctorswithout Borders.The cluster expanded its presence to allHaitian departments and worked inareas such as management of deadbodies. It helped develop a nationalstrategy for the distribution of essentialmedicines and supplies to the 10departments. In conjunction with theMinistry of Health, PAHO/WHOdeveloped a disease surveillanceprogram that paid special attention tothe 1.5 million people living in sheltersand developed a cholera alert andresponse system to identify cholera “hotspots.” An outbreak response team wassent to investigate cases and takeaction. In the first two months of theoutbreak, nearly 200 alerts werereported.What lessons have been learned as aresult of the cholera crisis?We realize that we must decentralizethe assistance: we cannot stay in thecapital, but we must go to thecountryside. In the beginning of theepidemic all the patients came fromurban areas. Mortality in rural zoneswas higher, which revealed a problem ofaccess. There are areas where peoplehave never had access to healthservices.We have also learned the importance ofhaving a system for epidemiologic alertand response to treat the outbreaks.Cholera is not only about health; it isabout water, hygiene, and managementof waste.What are the challenges for thehealth sector from now on?Once the reports of cases decrease,many of the NGOs will leave and themoney from agencies managingearthquake funds will be exhausted.Then we will have to think about midandlong-term projects and resourcemobilization. The projects have to beplanned for the mid- and long-termbecause Haiti’s problem is a18 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


development problem, a povertyproblem. Instead of distributingAquatabs [water purification tablets] itis better to build a water tank andchlorinate that water. We have to dothings that offer solutions, but notnecessarily with major infrastructureprojects. Solving the water problem is agreat challenge.The health sector will work onimproving access to primary care. Infact, the Ministry of Health’s strategy forrebuilding is to ensure the provisionand continuity of medical services in allthe affected structures. The sector willwork to support the most vulnerablepopulations. It is important to maintainand strengthen the governance of theMinistry of Health so that essentialhealth care functions can be carried out.Building partnerships with othergovernments and NGOs will help toimprove the capacity of the healthsector.Rebuilding hospitals and building newhealth facilities is an essential activityfor the health sector. It is important toensure that all health facilitiesincorporate mitigation measures inorder to make them more resistant todisaster.Is the international communityaware of this situation?Yes, but I am afraid that the donors willget tired… there are so many problems.But instead of offering funds every timethere is a disaster, it would be better tothink about mid-term solutions. Itwould be better to think more abouthow to help the government takeleadership so that things are managedbetter.What role will PAHO play?PAHO must support the Ministry ofHealth to improve the epidemiologicsurveillance system and to improvehealth services. We have to help theMinistry to ensure that the hospitalsthat will be built are safe. Theconstruction of 10 new hospitals isalready under way.What is the situation regardingcholera in Haiti right now?We are still responding. There are stillcholera alerts in isolated areas. Thelarge NGOs are closing their choleracenters, but since they are trainingmedical personnel locally, the transitionis less abrupt. They are leaving from 3to 5 beds for cholera patients in eachpublic or private institution.Haiti:First posted in Issue 115 - April 2011 of Member CountriesThe emergency phase for Haiti atthe national level—both in terms ofpost-earthquake activities and choleraresponse—is now near completion.This conclusion has led many nationaland international NGOs to reduce theirstaff and end operations. On the onehand, such a development represents apositive benchmark for Haiti asagencies transition towardsreconstruction and early recovery. Onthe other hand, the current situationremains extremely volatile, withpotential for disasters at both the localand national level in the year ahead.Nearly 800,000 people are stillliving in tents and shelters following theearthquake, and hazards remain from alack of clean water, unhygienic livingconditions, insecurity, and a weakenededucation sector. Health services are thesame, or in some cases worse thanbefore the earthquake and access willcontinue to decline as national andinternational partners reduce theirresources. A serious concern duringreconstruction and early recovery ismoving from emergencyto a fragile recoverythat the thresholdwhich might triggernew emergenciesremains low at thesame time thatavailable humanitarianresources are beingreduced.Within this new reality, PAHO willcontinue to maintain an emergencyteam in Haiti that is lean, agile, andresponsive to a fluid situation on theground. The goal is for this team tobolster national response by theGovernment of Haiti during futureemergencies. Limiting the impact offuture disasters will require action, andmaintaining the cholera alert andresponse mechanism established byPAHO and the Ministry of Health during2011 will be a cornerstone of earlyinterventions. The Health Cluster willwork to support emergency response aswell as carrying out reconstructionprojects. Beyond PAHO, other healthpartners should acknowledge thefragile state of Haiti and continue toallocate human and material resourcesfor emergency response in the yearahead.ResponseIn the aftermath of the earthquakean unprecedented humanitarianoperation was launched to support theHaitian government in its efforts torespond. Since January 2010, virtuallyall national and international resourceshave been dedicated to emergencyresponse. In the short term, this meantthat more people were able to accesshealth services than before theearthquake, as demonstrated bysubsidized health visits for high riskpopulations.July 2011Disaster Digest 19


The government led the choleraresponse efforts from the outset. Thisinvolved the design of a national plan,with support from PAHO, and thecreation and operation of an alert andresponse system. In addition, toimprove response capacity thegovernment installed a NationalEmergency Operations Center in thepresidential palace, under thechairmanship of the Haitian president.PAHO has mobilized over 100specialists to complement some 50 staffin PAHO’s country office. They areproviding technical assistance to thegovernment, UN agencies, and allHealth Cluster members at the nationaland departmental levels.Coordination of more than 400organizations and agencies involved inearthquake and cholera response wasthe responsibility of the Health Cluster.The formation of sub-clusters followingthe earthquake harnessed expertise ofleading NGOs in areas such as mobileclinics, mental health, and providingprostheses where virtually nothingexisted for amputees before theearthquake. Humanitarian actorscollaborated on important initiativessuch as post-disaster needsassessments, flash appeals, theconsolidated appeals process (CAP),mobilization of health funds, andimplementation of the national choleraresponse plan.In the face of administrative,security, and logistical challenges,critical medical supplies have beenprovided without interruption sinceJanuary 2010 through PROMESS, thecentral national pharmacy created inthe mid-1990s and operated by Haiti’sMinistry of Health, with technical andmanagerial support from PAHO/WHO.Current situationThe current health situation in Haitiremains uneven. It is characterized byimprovements in some areas andpersistent threat from cholera, measles,and other diseases. There is a potentialfor deterioration in coverage for themajority of the population if thegovernment lacks funds to provide freehealth care to children under five andan expansion of the free health carepackage for pregnant women. Securingthis funding is an essential bridge forthe health of the Haitian populationbecause reconstruction of healthservices is still years away.As of today, it appears the numberof cholera cases and the case fatalityrates have peaked. However, theconditions that precipitated the spreadof cholera and could cause other waterbornedisease have not been addressed.In addition, rural communities haveonly recently received access to choleracare and still need help. It is anticipatedthat the PAHO/WHO alert and responsesystem will continue to be in demandgoing forward.What is next?Although the cholera epidemic hasstabilized, urgent action is needed toaccomplish the following:• Set up new Oral Rehydration Posts(ORP), especially in hard-to- reachareas;• Improve quality care and casemanagement to further reduce thefatality rate;• Undertake social mobilizationcampaigns emphasizing preventionand response activities;• Increase the presence of healthprofessionals in remote andunderserved areas;• Set up a local response mechanismat central and departmental levelsto provide a minimum responsecapability for future disasters orepidemics.Going forward, the most pressing issuesare the reestablishment of “routine”programs and acceleration ofreconstruction programs, both of whichneed strong and unwavering supportfrom UN agencies and national andinternational partners. Actions in theseareas include:• Provide clean water, properhygiene, sanitation, and safe wastedisposal;• Ensure access to free-of-chargebasic health services for thepopulation as the foundation of asocial protection scheme;• Promote massive socialmobilization with other partners;• Strengthen surveillance systems toidentify trends in diseaseoccurrence and outbreak control;• Establish small stocks of essentialsupplies to deal with other naturaldisasters or epidemics which are tobe expected in this fragile sociopoliticaland natural environment;• Improve quality of care and casemanagement to continue to reducethe fatality rate;• Re-establish “routine” programssuch as vaccination, HIV/AIDSprograms, protection of vulnerablegroups, and others;• Start reconstruction programsimmediately while taking intoaccount risk reduction measures.For additional information regardingthis article, contact Sam Vigersky atvigersks@paho.org.For more information on PAHO/WHO’sresponse in Haiti, contact Dr. Dana VanAlphen at vanalphd@pan.paho.org .20 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


A Community Based EcosystemApproach to Disaster Risk ReductionCoral Bay Watershed Stabilization Project - St. John, USVIBy Cynthia RolliEcosystem Approach to Disaster RiskReductionWhat images does the adjective“healthy” conjure up when you apply itto yourself? Do you picture yourselffeeling good, full of energy and strengthto tackle any problems or illnesses thatcome your way?Now take that same word, andapply it to your ecosystem, what does a“healthy ecosystem” mean to you? Doyou picture vibrant coral reefs in theclear ocean waters, bountiful schools offish lurking in the reaching roots of themangrove stands, thick, green forestsdominating the hillsides, or do youimagine migrant birds floatingpeacefully in the wetlands?If you combine these two images,you are envisioning a healthyecosystem. Yes, you are part of theecosystem and so are those in yourcommunity. Ecosystems include plants,trees, animals, fish, birds, microorganisms,water, soil, and people.Everything that lives in an ecosystem isdependent on the other species andelements that are also part of thatecological community. If one part of anecosystem is damaged or disappears, ithas an impact on everything else.Just as you pictured your ownhealth providing a level of protectionagainst various problems and illnesses;a healthy ecosystem functions in thesame way. Forest cover reduces soilerosion and landslides; sand dunes andmangrove forests protect against wavesurges; and wetlands mitigate theimpacts of flooding. The degree ofprotection provided by ecosystemsdepends on a number of factors,especially their resilience to stress andthe intensity of the storm or floodingevent. If ecosystem services aredamaged or destroyed, substantial costsmust be incurred to restore or replacethem.Ecosystem management is anintegral part of disaster risk reduction.Maintaining and enhancing ecosystemsfor natural hazard mitigation andFigure 1: Map of Virgin Islandsprevention can strengthen localadaptation capacities to counter theeffects of natural hazards and climatechange.The focus of this article is toshowcase an example set by the CoralBay Community that has workedtogether to strengthen their localcapacity to enhance the naturalresilience of their ecosystem and in turnreduce their risks from natural hazards.Coral Bay is located on the easternend of the island of St. John, UnitedStates Virgin Islands (USVI).The purpose of this article is to presentto you, as an individual, how you canuse this example to support yourcommunity and help strengthen yourlocal capacity and increase yourresilience to natural hazards.How the Community Came TogetherIn 2003, the Government of theUSVI sought input from the Coral Bayresidents on an ‘area of particularconcern’ plan developed for Coral Bay.July 2011Disaster Digest 21


As a result of this initiative, a core groupof residents identified the need for acollective focus and voice among thecommunity. It was further identifiedthat there was a need to create a forumfor diverse populations in thecommunity to share commonobjectives. Thus, the core group whohad been interested in the planninginitiative got together to form the CoralBay Community Council.The Coral Bay Community Council,Inc. (CBCC) was founded in 2003 as avolunteer-initiated, 200-member,501(c)(3) nonprofit organization toprovide residents with a means ofparticipating in planning the future ofCoral Bay development, including landand water use planning, infrastructure,and environmental issues. CBCC is awatershed management association,utilizing many approaches to protectthe watershed.In order to find the focused visionthat was previously found lacking,vision sessions were held with smallgroups of residents representing a crosssection of people in Coral Bay. Theresidents were asked the followingthree questions:Figure 2: Coral Bay, St. John, USVI1. What do you like most about yourcommunity?2. What do you think Coral Bay mightlook like in 10 years if developmentcontinues at the current pace oreven increases?3. What do you want Coral Bay to looklike in the future?The responses varied, though; therewas a similar tone and agreementthroughout the majority of the answers.New residents to Coral Bay respondedthat they liked ‘the diversity in thepopulation’, and that they ‘respect andappreciate the local culture and nature’.The people who were born in Coral Bay,‘want to feel we still belong here’, thatour ‘culture is respected’ and that wecan retain our nature-based life style,openly walking the countryside andbeaches, and eating from fruit treeswith unrestricted water access to boatsand fishing. The residents agreed thatthe current and likely future pace ofdevelopment is leading to very negativeenvironmental consequences includingerosion, runoff, permanent scarring ofhillsides and more. As far as the futureof Coral Bay, there were manysuggestions, with the foremost desiredview of planned infrastructure,especially the roads and stormdrainage, BEFORE developmenthappens. The residents believe thebenefits of planned infrastructure willhelp protect the mangroves, coral reefs,and natural fish nursery areas.The vision sessions incorporatedthe results of the community answersinto the following unified MissionStatement to guide their continueddevelopment and efforts:CBCC's purpose is to provide aneffective means for residents of CoralBay to participate in planning thefuture of Coral Bay development, byproviding education and informationon planning processes, and a forum forgovernment, citizens, and developersto discuss plans. The agenda focuseson: land and water use planning,infrastructure, development andenvironmental issues. The Councilseeks community consensus on thefuture of Coral Bay. The organization,with its nonprofit status, will be able toimplement community improvementand research projects through grantsand donations, and evolve into abroader agenda of community servicesand concerns.Coral Bay Community CouncilOrganizationThe work of the CBCC is managedby a nine person volunteer board ofdirectors, elected by the votingmembership at an annual meeting eachNovember. Community ForumMeetings are held several times duringthe year, usually on the 2nd Monday ofeach month.The membership dues are$30.00/year and $5.00/year for seniors.Full time volunteer and President ofCBCC, Mrs. Sharon Coldren added, “Weencourage people who can afford it togive more. It’s a nice way of notcreating a barrier. We don’t want toencourage major donations, because wedon’t want people to feel that we arerepresenting wealthy interests.” Ms.Coldren further explained that one ofthe necessities (and also a challenge) ofa functional board is based on diversity;“Our board is carefully chosen to berepresentative of differentneighborhoods and of different kinds ofpeople within the community. That’snot always easy to do in terms of findingpeople willing to do it on a volunteerbasis.”Ms. Coldren commented that theobjectives of the community meetingsaren’t only to focus on the currentprojects in Coral Bay, but to helpresidents learn about options toempower themselves and theircommunity. She speaks of the efforts ofMr. Blake Parker, the CBCC NOAAProject Coordinator; “Blake has beeninstrumental in passing on informationabout how you form a homeowners22 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


association. A significant part of theCBCC’s efforts are working withcommunity groups to encourage themto form homeowners associations. Weare trying to put together the buildingblocks to continue.”Coral Bay Council AchievementsWhile it is not possible to document allof the aspects of the Coral BayWatershed Management Project withinthis article; the key milestones that havebeen reached through the efforts of theCBCC and their project partners havebeen briefly summarized below:1. Development of Coral BayWatershed Management Plan(March 2008); CBCC collaboratedwith multiple local and Federalagencies, CBCC, and many local landowners and developers to developthe Watershed Management Plan.You can access a copy of the plan athttp://www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org/Watershed-Managementproject.htm.2. Implementation of the pilot CoralBay Watershed ManagementPlan; CBCC sought and receivedfunding for the implementation ofthe watershed management planthrough the EPA CARE (Level II)$300,000 two-year cooperativeagreement. Specific efforts thatwere achieved through this fundinginclude:a. CBCC hired a full-timeStormwater Engineer P.E. to beon-site in Coral Bay for twoyears to identify, design, anddemonstrate effectivestormwater devices and BMPs.The designs and methods arespecific to the unique tropicalisland environment in Coral Bay.b. Coordinated workshops,training opportunities, scientificmonitoring and communityoutreach related to stormwaterand watershed management.3. Implementation of design workplans; a condition of the EPA grantrequired CBCC to seek fundingsources for implementation of thedesign work plans. CBCC Partneredwith Virgin Islands ResourceConservation and Development (VIRC&D) Council to apply and receiveNOAA Coastal & Marine HabitatRestoration funding under theAmerican Recovery andReinvestment Act of 2009 for theirUSVI Coastal Habitat Restorationthrough Watershed Stabilizationproject.a. Six sub-watershed areas wereselected for corrective work toreduce erosion andsedimentation entering the bay,with more than 15 separatecomponentdesigns/subprojects.4. Website Development;Development and maintenance ofan expansive website,www.coralbaycommunitycouncil.org.One of the intended benefits of theCoral Bay Watershed Management andStabilization Project is to be able todocument similar achievements withinneighboring islands and throughout theCaribbean. As expressed by VI RC&D;“It is our hope that this project willencourage the implementation ofsimilar mitigation efforts throughoutthe USVI and the Caribbean, and thatthe lessons learned here can beincorporated into the design of betterland development practices.”Stormwater Management ProjectsOver sixty (60) projects weredefined for implementation within theCoral Bay Watershed Management Plan.The purpose for hiring Mr. Chris Laude,the Stormwater Engineer, was not onlyfor design development, but to designthe projects in such a way that theexpertise and knowledge is transferredthroughout the community. Mr. Laudecommented that the problem in CoralBay is obvious to everyone, and hewants to help make the solutionsobvious to everyone as well; “Everyoneknows that there’s a problem in the bay,every time it rains you can see it. So, mypurpose is to design a series of smallprojects to help in some small way. But,they’re not out in space, they aredesigned in the context of, ‘Hey lookwhat you can do, it’s not that hard,we’re not spending a lot of money here,and it’s not taking that long, you can dothis, it’s possible.”Several of the stormwater designprojects were identified asdemonstrations sites. Thedemonstration sites serve as trainingopportunities for local designers andcontractors, help raise general publicawareness about stormwatermanagement, and meet educationalrequirements under the permitrequirements. Ms. Coldren spokebluntly about the objective of thedemonstration site; “Well if no one’sever seen a retaining pond, you can talkabout that all you want, but they won’tunderstand why. But, now that we havea demonstration; we show you how todo it and why you do it, it’s pretty easyto use moral enforcement to share thetechniques.“In addition to providingdemonstration sites for trainingopportunities, seminars are heldmonthly for construction contractors,builders, officers from Public Work, andthe general public. The seminars aredesigned to showcase stormwatermanagement materials andconstruction techniques. Ms. Coldrenspoke of one of the advantages of theseminars; “We try to elevate the interestin some of these techniques and providethe training, after all we want thesepeople to bid on the jobs, the more theyknow about it, the better they can bidon the project. “When asked about some of thechallenges that he has been presentedduring his work in Coral Bay, he refersto a common issue throughout theworld, “Money is really tight, as it iseverywhere. Budget sometimes drivesthe project more than design criteria, sothat can be disappointing.”July 2011Disaster Digest 23


Stormwater Project ExamplesThree examples of the projects that have been implemented through the efforts of the CBCC have been included below:Infiltration Pond ProjectProject Location: Gerda Marsh/ King’s Hill RoadProject Problem:Natural stormwater flows from an uphill residential development have been redirected to the dirtsubdivision road network. The sediment-laden flow is then directed into a concrete swale anddelivered to paved King’s Hill road and a ¼ mile swale and road surface which flows directly CoralHarbor.Project Solution:Multiple projects have been slated for this areaincluding; the relocation of the drainage swaleonto an adjacent property to restore natural flowand the installation of a naturalized treatmentarea consisting of infiltration, bio-filtration cellsand rock check dams and baffles to control andslow the flow to allow sediment and othercontaminates to drop out. Figure 4 is a typicalinfiltration or ‘sediment’ pond design. Figures 5and 6 display the completed sediment pond inthis area.Figure 3: Gerda Marsh Road Runoff (Source; CoralBay Watershed Management Plan 2008)Figure 4: Typical Wet Pond Cell DesignFigure 5: Completed Infiltration Pond; Kings Hill RoadFigure 6: Completed Infiltration Pond; Kings Hill RoadFigure 7: President of CBCC, Sharon Coldren and Mr. Rupert Marsh,Land Owner (of infiltration pond system)24 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Rain Garden ProjectProject Location:Project Problem:Below Route 10, behind the fire house and adjacent to the Guy Benjamin School.Existing concrete channel insufficient for volume of flow received in this area; and flow is directedinto the Fire Station’s parking lot.Project Solution:To install a step pool/rain garden area just below Route10 in a grassed wale area behind the firehouse andadjacent to the Guy Benjamin School. Therecommendations were based on a previous studyconducted by the Water Resources Program, RutgersNew Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station. Figure 9displays a typical design for a step pool/rain garden.Figure 10 displays the completed rain garden project inCoral Bay.Figure 8: Photograph of area for Rain Garden Installation (Source;Watershed Management Plan 2008)Figure 9: Design Examples of Rain GardenFigure 10: Completed Rain Garden InstallationJuly 2011Disaster Digest 25


By Zebalon McCleanIn 2011, the Virgin Islands (VI)hosted the annual meeting of theTechnical Advisory Committee, a bodyestablished under the CaribbeanDisaster Emergency ManagementAgency (CDEMA, formerly CDERA).Despite being one of the smallestTerritories among the 18 Caribbeannations that comprise the membershipof CDEMA, the Virgin Islands arenonetheless highly respected by CDEMAfor the work in, and their commitmentto the progression of ComprehensiveDisaster Management (CDM) in theregion. This reputation has been earnedby the level of productivity they haveconsistently achieved, due in part to thefact that every staff member has earnedqualifications from recognized tertiaryinstitutions. Further to this, both Ms.Sharleen DaBreo, the Director of the VIDepartment of Disaster Management,and I (the Department’s DeputyDirector), have earned Bachelor ofScience Degrees in EmergencyAdministration and Management, withhonours, from mainland universities.We have also both taught classes withinstructured Disaster ManagementAcademic Programmes. It is clearly seenthat we both support the necessity ofachieving academic learning in the fieldof Disaster Management.More than just identifying this fieldas their niche, or being transferred orpromoted into a role either within aNational Disaster Office (NDO) orsimilar organization, based on a careerrife with experience in emergencyresponse, mitigation and/or planning,future Disaster Managementpractitioners needs their capacitiessupplemented by the benefits ofeducation. It can certainly be arguedthat, to be recognized as a genuinediscipline and a respected science, thereshould be the presence of various levelsof qualification to verify and identify aDisaster Manager’s proficiency. Butwhat of their busy schedules,commitment to their families andperhaps not having the means tofinance travel and livingaccommodations at an establisheduniversity? These dedicatedprofessionals, contrary to popularbelief, engage in far more than just theplanning, response and recovery effortsthat deal with those powerful,dangerous storms during the annualHurricane Season. Many of them areintegral components in their NDOs,especially those offices which are stillgrowing and developing. Still, they needthis structured edification and the bestrecourse for most is online instruction.In 2007, the Hamilton Lavity StouttCommunity College (HLSCC), from theirParaquita Bay campus in Tortola, VirginIslands and in collaboration with whatwas then the Caribbean DisasterEmergency Response Agency (CDERA),offered an online Introduction toDisaster Management class. The coursewas made available to 15 participantsfrom many Caribbean nations includingSaint Vincent, Belize, Trinidad,Montserrat, Jamaica and the Turks andCaicos Islands. Despite commonchallenges inherent to electronic-basedlearning platforms, the course wentwell. All the participants were equallyintrigued and enthusiastic, as well asthankful for being a student in a collegelevelcourse, particular to their area ofwork, that could be made a part of theirschedule. After completing the course,all the students inquired as to when theother classes would be available online.Many persons who heard of the coursealso expressed a great deal of interest.And no wonder! Imagine being able toattend college, a major achievement initself and a dream of many, withoutneeding to travel from your country or,for that matter, from your home!In January of this year, HLSCClaunched another online Introduction toDisaster Management course. There arecurrently 25 students enrolled, hailingfrom 20 Caribbean countries. Thisincludes nations from as far north asthe Bahamas, and as far south asGuyana. With noted challengesstemming from their workcommitments and the occasionalinternet connectivity problem, they arenonetheless excited to be part of thecourse and are progressing well, so far.On the mainland, Arkansas TechUniversity continues to offer onlineEmergency Administration andManagement Degree Programmes atboth the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels.To date, officers from the Royal VirginIslands Police Force, have attainedBachelor’s Degrees through this onlineoption. Each of them visited the campuson two occasions, the second time totake their rightful place among thegraduands, and receive a degree earnedwithout, unlike so many others whohave gone before, having to maintain aphysical presence within any of theinstitution’s classrooms.Interestingly enough, onlinecourses were once mere curiosities,with much question raised about their28 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


validity. Surely there would be far lessto gain from not having that close,personal connection with the wiseteacher who could immediately answera probing question, or produceanalogies that could bring the lessonsharply into focus for students who donot immediately glean the gist of atopic. After all, studentscould not teachthemselves. That belief,however, no longerapplies. According to a2009 meta study fromthe Department ofEducation: “Studentswho took all or part oftheir class onlineperformed better, onaverage, than thosetaking the same coursethrough traditional faceto-faceinstruction.” Students who mixonline learning with traditionalcoursework (i.e. blended learning) doeven better. [Evidence-Based Practicesin Online Learning: A Meta-Analysis andReview of Online Learning Studies,United States Department ofEducation]. Now, most of thetraditionally “top” schools, includingsuch lauded institutions such asHarvard, Stanford, Yale and BrownUniversity all offer online courses. It isno passing fad. Online learning is nowan established and respected means toachieving higher education.It is understood that long lastingand far reaching results wouldinvariably require the support ofresources, both human and financial. Nomatter how the dream or goal ofbecoming a college graduate isvisualized and romanticized, thereremains an austere reality; in order tomove to the post secondary academiclevel, access to a tertiary institutionwould need to be financed, if not by aGovernment, company or a privatelyfunded agency or organization, then byan individual or individuals. TheCaribbean and all its markets andfinancial institutions have not beenspared the effects of the globaleconomic crisis. Every quarter andevery citizen has been affected,including the sources of funding foreducational pursuits. Consequently,costs have been cut and belts have beentightened. The essential and basicnecessities have been identified anddecisions have been made to satisfyonly the most rudimentary needs inmost cases. So what argument can ourpeople within our NDOs and ouremergency response organizationspresent to convince the requisiteauthorities to dip into their nowglaringly finite budgets in order to seethem off to school?Well, if saving costs atthe end of the day isthe currentlypreferred initiative,then the onlinemethod is one thatcertainly can beemployed. After all,this method oflearning would notneed to be supportedby the cost of air farefor a student andhis/her luggage, monthly rentalpayments for the use of a universitydormitory or an apartment close tocampus (which is usually priced highbecause of the convenience it provides)and other fees that are borne of collegeliving. As well, many other personalexpenses that have to be covered by thestudent will not be incurred. This is anoption that offers the benefits of thesame education delivered in theclassrooms but, in this case, noclassroom would be necessary.As reiterated in this year’s January14th article by Valerie Lucus-McEwen,Disaster Management, a steadilygrowing profession, is projected tocontinue growing at a rate of 20 percentor more. Currently, more than 180programs are available in the USA.[http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/Emergency-Management-Degrees-Careers.html?page=2&]Consequently, there are more DisasterManagement practitioners who areearning degrees. This has createdcompetition in a field where there wasnone, and a greater number of personsseeking jobs within our field are morefamiliar with contemporary practicesand methods. Online courses willadvantageously provide a single parent,a physically challenged individual or acommitted community activist with thesame opportunity to attend college as aperson with little responsibility, nohealth or physical concerns and nopressing societal or domesticobligations. Still, while a degree doesThis is an option thatoffers the benefits ofthe same educationdelivered in theclassrooms but, inthis case, no classroomwould be necessary.July 2011not replace experience, proficiency inthe application of Disaster Managementconcepts does not differ from theapplication of theories and modelswithin any discipline. Experience,academic edification and ongoingtraining are the three approachesneeded, working in concert with eachother, to build sustainable capacitywithin any discipline, including withinour NDOs. Therefore, our people cangain their experience and continue totake short courses to receive currentupdates while remaining within theirown jurisdictions and still look forwardto attending college. It should beconsidered that, after all the résumésare perused and verified, the personswith the Degrees would usually beafforded greater consideration towardsthe post than the experiencedemergency responders who haveamassed many years in the profession.These responders may have arrived at apoint in their lives where they haveamassed certain responsibilities thatwould make it difficult to absentthemselves for a prolonged period oftime. This is a common situation amongmany of our West Indians, and onlinetraining may offer an avenue towardsachieving a degree for such personswho may simply not be able to travel forwhatever reason.During the first online courseoffered by HLSCC in 2007 and currentlyin the ongoing course offered this year,the students have the opportunity tointeract with each other via aDiscussion Board and through aParticipant Messaging option on thecourse website. This is similar to theDisaster Digest 29


interaction often enjoyed by personswithin the same fields who meet at apreviously identified venue forworkshops and training courses. Hence,we have 25 Disaster ManagementPractitioners networking withthemselves and 20 different Territories,not having to spend a penny on air fareand accommodations. They have metonline and communicated, and are thusavailable to each other as points ofreference and for advice.The famous French author, Françoisde la Rochefoucauld, said "The onlything constant in life is change." In ouruncertain world, we are constantlypresented with nigh indisputableevidence that the inevitable futurechanges WILL present greater issuesregarding prevention, preparedness,response and recovery for NDOs anddisaster management officers.Therefore, if being forewarnedencourages one to be forearmed, thenwe must arm our soldiers of civilprotection with the contemporaryeducation required to meet theseprojected challenges. While theknowledge gained through pastexperiences can equip a responder witha list of options from which a plan ofaction can be applied, experiencecannot prepare anyone for an entirelynew threat to our communities, nor canit enlighten persons about the bold, newtools that are being introduced topropel the applications of CDM forward.That said, it then becomes a matter ofconvenience in this current world ofreduced staff numbers.The work of Disaster Managementcontinues to grow more challenging.With the attention that is necessarilybeing channelled to the issue of ClimateChange and the increasing numbers inincidents of disasters, both natural andman-made, leaders are growing moredemanding of their NDOs to offer moresolutions to mitigate, respond to andrecover from disasters. DisasterManagers have to become increasinglyknowledgeable of and sensitive to theinfrastructural, socio-economic andpolitical ramifications of disasterimpacts. This is because while DisasterManagement evolved from basicResponse Management, it is now aprofession that has to be multi-layeredand multi-functional in order to beeffective in fulfilling the mandateshanded down by each nation’s politicaldirectorate. In the Lucus-McEwenarticle, a 30 year veteran in USA localand federal government, Lucien Canton,said, “I don’t know a professionalcertification that doesn’t require adegree,” Canton said. “You won’t betaken seriously if you didn’t.” Thebottom line is that if current emergencymanagers want to be taken seriously,they’d be wise to start working on thatbachelor’s or master’s degree now.” Thisis food for more than mere thought.This is the substance of a potentialfuture that could validate all pastefforts, commitments and dedication onthe part of Disaster Managementpractitioners to their people, theircommunities and their love for theirfellow man, in general. In keeping withthe changing times and moving alongwith technology, I beg to submit that themost convenient portal to therealization of this future will be throughonline programmes.http://distancelearn.about.com/gi/o.htm?zi=1/XJ&zTi=1&sdn=distancelearn&cdn=education&tm=257&gps=668_352_1362_493&f=00&su=p897.10.336.ip_&tt=3&bt=0&bts=1&zu=http%3A//www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/opepd/ppss/reports.html%23edtech[http://www.emergencymgmt.com/training/Emergency-Management-Degrees-Careers.html?page=2&]Zebalon McClean is the Deputy Directorof the Department of DisasterManagement - Virgin IslandsEarn a Certificate or Associate Degree inDisaster ManagementThis programme provides an introduction into the academic study ofdisasters and emergency response and offers maximum flexibility forstudents intent on improving skills in the vital areas of DisasterManagement.Graduates possessing the Certificate or Associate Degree in DisasterManagement from the H.Lavity Stoutt Community College will be ableto pursue baccalaureate education at home or abroad. Withthe increasing availability of the emergency-related degreeprogrammes, preference is often given to candidatespossessing a degree in this field.H. LAVITY STOUTT COMMUNITY COLLEGE DEPARTMENT OF DISASTER MANAGEMENTParaquita Bay CampusPhone: 1-284-494-4994Fax: 1-284-494-4996www.hlscc.edu.vgGeneral Information: info@hlscc.edu.vg#3 Wailing Road, MacNamaraRoad Town, TortolaPhone: 1-284-468-4200Fax: 1-284-494-2024www.bviddm.com30 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Domestic Wastewater Management®By Marissa Da Breo, BSc, MAS, LEED APNo one really gives much thought towhere their domestic wastewater goesas long as it goes away. The old adageout of sight out of mind applies verywell to this issue. However, improperlydisposed wastewater, namely sewage,can cause a series of problems forindividuals and the environment.Several million people are affected eachyear by water that is contaminated bypathogens and other contaminantsfound in sewage. Not only does sewagecontaminate inland drinking andbathing water sources butcontamination may extend as far asharbors and bays. Additionally,improperly treated sewage fromtreatment facilities is often pumped outto the ocean creating problems formarine animals and plants. Both inlandand coastal marine pollution caused bymalfunctioning residential septicsystems and partially treated municipalwaste are problems in the Caribbeanregion. The United NationEnvironmental Programme (UNEP)Caribbean Environmental Programme(CEP) (1996, 16) indicated that“domestic wastewater was the largestpoint source contributor by volume” tomarine pollution in the Caribbean.Many of the islands utilise surface/riverwater for potable water, socontamination of this resource byseepage from a residential system canexpose many to harmful bacteria if thewater is not treated properly. Withgently sloping land being scarce onmany of the islands, people often timesbuild where they can. Sometimes this isin the watershed of major sources ofpotable water. On the other hand, densedevelopment in low lying areas withhigh water tables and where municipaltreatment is inadequate can result incoastal contamination and degradation.In the Caribbean, domesticwastewater treatment systemscomprise of very simple latrines tomore advanced systems. Wastewater isdirected to underground pits or tankswhere solid materials settle and isreduced by bacterial decomposition.The nutrients in the liquid portion ofthe waste are broken down by bacteriain the septic system and also in the soilas the liquid percolates. Sewagetreatment plants are also utilized in theregion mainly in coastal populationurban centers where population densityis high and where, it is very likely thatthe depth to groundwater is to shallowto allow for septic systems. Clouden(1998) estimated that in the early1990s approximately 10 percent of thepopulation of the region was connectedto a municipal sewage plant but thatsome of the plants left a lot to bedesired. Municipal sewer systems werelocated on the islands of Barbados, St.Lucia, Grenada and Trinidad andTobago and that more systems wereplanned. Clouden (1998) points outthat “the most widely used system ofsewage disposal, especially in the urbanand peri-urban areas, is the septic tankand soak-away, and in the coral islandslike Barbados, the suck well, which is adeep pit to facilitate percolation. Inareas where soil conditions do notpermit proper infiltration, effluent isgenerally disposed of in street drains.Many rural communities, especiallythose without access to piped watersupplies, depend upon pit latrines, andthe provision of public facilities forwastewater treatment or excretadisposal.”Worldwide, one of the simplest andcheapest waste disposal system is thelatrine. A latrine consists of an enclosedstructure built over a dug pit. Waste isdeposited in the pit and anaerobicdecomposition reduces the solid wastewhile the liquid waste soaks into thebottom and sides of the pit. Accordingto the UNEP (nd) the decompositionreleases methane, carbon dioxide andsulfuric gases and venting is important.As simple and cost effective as thesesystems might be, the UNEP notes thatthey can result in groundwatercontamination because nutrients aregenerally not removed from the liquidportion of the waste effectively. TheCaribbean has moved away from thesesystems as indoor plumbing is moreconvenient and widely used.


Figure 1 - Typical Septic SystemSource: http://www.cep.unep.org/pubs/Techreports/tr40en/appendixd.htmlMost domestic wastewater systemsin the Caribbean consist of septic tanksand a leaching structure or soak-away.In some islands, it is common for theseptic tanks to collect wastewater fromthe toilets only. Wastewater frombathroom and kitchens is generallyallowed to flow freely along the surface.This is not ideal, as the water can becontaminated with a host of biologicalagents, chemicals and grease. Beforephosphorous was determined to be afactor in eutrophication, manydetergents contained the mineral, sowastewater from kitchens wascontributing to water quality problemsin the Caribbean and elsewhere.According to the UNEP (nd), a typicalseptic system consists of a brick,concrete or cinderblock, rectangular orcylindrical structure to whichwastewater is directed. The solidmaterial sinks to the bottom of the tankwhere it undergoes anaerobicdecomposition. Scum floats on top ofthe water. The tank typically holdswastewater for two to four days duringwhich time, according to the UNEP(2005), “[a]bout 50% removal of BOD[biological oxygen demand] andSuspended Solids (SS) is usuallyachieved.” Typically a vent pipe takesgas generated by the decompositionout of the system and releases it intothe atmosphere. The liquid portion ofthe waste is directed to a leaching pit ortrench. A typical septic system isillustrated in Figure 1.A separate leaching structure isinstalled to hold and release the liquidportion of the waste into the soil. TheUNEP (2005) notes that a pit workswell in soils with high permeability andcan be filled with gravel. In soils withlow permeability, like clayey soils,trenches are recommended. The trenchis lined with gravel and a perforatedpipe is placed in the gravel and coveredwith soil. The trench provides moresurface area for infiltration. Differenttypes of leaching structures areillustrated below.Figure 2 - Typical Leaching TrenchSource: http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/publications/freshwater/sb_summary/6.aspFigure 3 - Typical Leaching PitSource: http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/publications/freshwater/sb_summary/6.asp


In areas where below groundleaching trenches or pits are notsuitable, like in an area where the watertable is high, a modified system can beinstalled. The UNEP (1998, np) notesthat such a system consists of “a septictank, a small pump or siphon, a dosingchamber, distribution piping, and anelevated mound.” Waste enters theseptic tank from the household and thesolids settle out as usual. Bacteriadecompose the solids anaerobically.Liquid collects in a holding tank until acertain level is attained then the liquidis pumped up “to an above-groundelevated mound. The mound consists ofsand and coarse aggregate. As theeffluent percolates through the mound,it is treated as in a conventionaldrainage field. A geotextile may be laidaround the distribution piping todistribute effluent … more evenly in themound.” The effluent is treated as itpercolates down into the soil as in thebelow-ground septic system. Thissystem is usually installed where thereis not enough separation fromgroundwater, where bedrock is close tothe surface or where soil permeability islow.Figure 4 - Septic System with Modified Leaching FieldSource: http://www.cep.unep.org/pubs/Techreports/tr40en/appendixd.htmlIn yet another modification, anevaporation bed may be installed.According to the UNEP (1998, np)“[evapotransporation] beds are a sandbed with an impermeable liner andwastewater distribution piping.Wastewater fills the pores in the sandand rises to the upper portion of thebed by hydraulic pressure and capillaryaction. In the upper portion of the bedthe water evaporates in the soil throughdirect vaporisation and through theleaves of rooted vegetation grown onthe surface of the bed.” Importantly,these systems “function only whenevaporation exceeds precipitationduring every month of the year.” TheUNEP (np, 2005) notes that “[t]hetrench should be sized to store waterduring the rainy season or lowevaporation periods.” Additionally, theUNEP recommends the alternate use ofleaching pits and trenches as a layer ofslime usually builds up limiting theinfiltration of treated wastewater. Asone pit or trench system is being usedthe other recovers as the slime dries up.In the Caribbean, the majority ofhomes are connected to public water;therefore, not much attention is paid tothe placement of septic systems inrelation to other homes. In areas wheregroundwater is utilized via the use ofwells, the placement of septic systemsand the direction of groundwater floware important factors to consider whenplanning your development. Planningauthorities have to consider thesefactors as a downgradient well willlikely be contaminated with wastewaterfrom the septic system locatedupgradient. Regardless of whetherwells are used for potable water or not,if a septic system fails it is usually thosedowngradient that will be affected themost. Add a rain event to failing septicsystems and we have a recipe forserious health and environmentalconsequences.July 2011Despite their popularity, there areproblems associated with the use ofseptic systems. Periodic maintenance isrequired to remove the buildup of nondecomposablematerial or the systemwill fill up and not function as intended.According to Wikipedia (2011) septicsystems can fail due to the excessivepresence of oils and grease which donot decompose well, dumpingchemicals and inorganic items into thesystem, tree roots and excessive wateruse. The American Groundwater Trust(2008, np) cites “overload and lack ofmaintenance” as the main causes ofseptic system failure. They note thatoverload can occur when a systemdesigned to treat wastewater from atwo bedroom home is notupgraded/expanded when theresidence is expanded. Also, whenwater usage significantly increases andthe system is unable to handle the load,wastewater with solids will be directedto the leaching structure. The solidmaterial will clog piping and pitsreducing the efficiency of the system.Failure can result in backup of materialinto the residence, release of untreatedwastewater to the surface or into thesoil. Release of untreated wastewatercan result in health and environmentalissues.Most septic systems functionanaerobically and release methane, agreenhouse gas, to the atmosphere andcan contribute to groundwatercontamination. They also need to bemaintained or they will cease tofunction properly. Recent efforts havebeen aimed at improving theperformance of septic systems. TheUNEP (np, 2005) notes improvedsystem performance includes “reducingBOD [Biological Oxygen Demand], SS[Suspended Solids] and/or nutrients” inorder to “prevent groundwaterpollution or enable water reuse of thetreated wastewater.” Aerobicwastewater disposal systems aregaining popularity. In these systems,oxygen is introduced into the septicDisaster Digest 33


tank. The UNEP(2005) describes asystem that utilizesan inverted trench.The leaching trench islined with animpermeable materialand filled with sandor permeable soil.Treated wastewaterflows into leachdrains from the septictank and into thesurrounding soil orsand layer. Theconditions in thesoil/sand changebetween aerobic andanaerobic dependingon the level ofwastewater. Bacteriareduce theammonium to nitrateaerobically and thenanaerobically reducethe nitrate to nitrogengas which is releasedto the atmosphere.Materials can be added to the soil/sandto remove phosphorous from the water.A depiction of the system is provided atFigure 5.Improved septic systemperformance is achieved by makingthe system aerobic. Air is introducedFigure 5 - Inverted Trench SystemSource: http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/publications/freshwater/sb_summary/6.aspFigure 6 - Aerated SystemSource: http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/publications/freshwater/sb_summary/6.aspinto the system through the use ofelectric pumps. The effluent fromthese systems can be used forirrigating lawns and gardens. In thesystem described by the UNEP (2005)the septic system consists of fourchambers. Wastewater enters the firstcompartment and solid materialsettles. The liquid material proceedsto the second chamber which isaerated and where bacteria decomposethe organic material. The wastewaterpasses to the third compartment.Sediments settle in this tank and arereturned to the first compartment viapiping and pumps. The wastewaterflows to a fourth compartment that isequipped with an irrigation pump.Subsurface irrigation is recommendedas it does not require the addition ofchlorine to the system. Chlorinetablets can be introduced if surfaceirrigation is desired. A depiction ofthe aerated system is provided inFigure 6. Patented variations of theaerated system described by the UNEPthat use one tank are available but theunderlying premise is the same.As noted, there are some largetreatment plants in the Caribbean.These systems, if not operatedproperly or maintained, can alsocontaminate the environment. Ofsignificant concern is marinecontamination as many plantsdischarge effluent into the ocean.Land in proximity to the coast ispremium in most of the Caribbean andtreatment facilities usually require asignificant amount of land. There areseveral methods of wastewatertreatment, like aquatic systems, thatare low cost but that require theconstruction of ponds. Suitable landsfor such systems are already occupiedby residential, industrial andcommercial development and ports.Sewage treatment is necessary in orderto avoid disease, contamination ofsurface, groundwater and the marineenvironment. Government, planningand sewage authorities need toseriously consider their options.As sustainability becomes morepopular and accepted and as wateravailability concerns grow around theglobe due to drought and pollution,water conservation and reuse willbecome more important and a34 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


equirement in some cases and places.Any effort toward the advancedtreatment of domestic wastewater sothat it can be reused for irrigation andnon-potable uses is a step in the rightdirection. Planning authorities need toReferencesbe aware of the technology that isavailable to make wastewaterreusable. They also need to considerthe sizing and placement of septicsystems in case of failure ormalfunction. Homeowners shouldalso be aware of the maintenancerequirements involved in septicsystems and that failure can contributeto the spread of disease and resourcedegradation and that system repair orreplacement can be very expensive.American Ground Water Trust. 2008. “Septic system for waste water disposal.” Accessed March 6, 2011.http://www.agwt.org/info/septicsystems.htm#HOW%20CAN%20SEPTIC%20SYSTEM%20FAILURE%20BE%20PREVENTED?Clouden, Francine. 1998. “Small Community Wastewater Treatment Systems In The Wider Caribbean.” Paper presented at the UNEPProceedings of the Workshop on Adopting, Applying and Operating Environmentally Sound Technologies for Domestic and IndustrialWastewater Treatment for the Wider Caribbean Region. http://www.cep.unep.org/publications-and-resources/technical-reports/tr43en.pdfUnited Nations Environment Programme. Environmentally Sound Technologies in wastewater treatment for the implementation of the UNEPGlobal Programme of Action (GPA): "GUIDANCE ON MUNICIPAL WASTEWATER.” Accessed February 28, 2011.http://www.unep.or.jp/ietc/publications/freshwater/sb_summary/index.aspUnited Nations Environment Programme. 1998. Appropriate Technology for Sewage Pollution Control in the Wider Caribbean Region.Technical Report #40 1998. Accessed March 1, 2011. http://www.cep.unep.org/pubs/Techreports/tr40en/appendixd.htmlWikipedia. 2011. “Septic tank.” Last modified Februray 18. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septic_systemTrojanOVER20YEARSEXPERIENCEDESIGN & DEVELOPMENT LTD.An Architecture and Construction firm known for its Diversity, Quality, Unique Designs and Construction Works!Specialising in:Architecture Design • Urban Planning • New Construction & Renovations WorksBuilding Assessments • Civil & Structural Engineering • LEED Consulting • EIA ReportsP.O. Box 2923 • Vanterpool Estates • East End, Tortola • Virgin Islandsp: 1(284)-543-6027 f: 1(284)-494-6194 e: trojandesigngroup.bvi@gmail.comJuly 2011Disaster Digest 35


Business Continuity: ByThe Harneys ModelPhilomena RobertsonThere is nothing one can do toprevent natural disasters, howeverthere is a whole lot to be done tomitigate the impact ofthese disasters. In fact,the key to surviving theimpact of these disastersand in fact recoveringfrom them, lies in thepreparatory work, doneprior to the impact.While we have no controlover the ravages of anevent, we can control thelength of time it takesand the resources wehave to allocate torecover in their wake andreturn to business asusual.Businesses that areserious about theirexistence and futuresurvival should beguided by an operationalplan, a critical element ofwhich will be provisionsfor business continuity inthe aftermath of adisaster, whether naturalor man-made. Byintegrating mitigating procedures intotheir operational planning, businesseswill determine how soon after adisastrous event, they are ready toresume normal operations.Defined, business continuity refersto the activities which are performed byan organisation, the purpose of which isto ensure that critical businessfunctions will be available to the clientsor customers of the organisation.Business continuity is not to beconfused with recovery which is but aportion of what is required for businesscontinuity to take place.The Caribbean Disaster EmergencyManagement Agency (CDEMA) has longrecognised business continuity as a“critical component of the EnhancedComprehensive Disaster ManagementStrategy & Framework 2007 to 2012”.“Having adisaster plan isimportant forany companyand particularlyfor us since weare in ahurricane zone,which is amajor threat,not to discountflooding andearthquakesand yes,tsunamis!”CDEMA has hosted workshops forbusiness executives which addressedcontingency planning, specificallybusiness continuityplanning. According tothe CDEMA descriptionfor one such workshop,“business continuityplanning focuses on theability of a business torecover efficiently andeffectively from anunplanned crisis ordisruption of service,and can be instrumentalin ensuring the survivalof a business during andafter the disruption.”In the British VirginIslands, our tropicalclimate is characterisedannually with theAtlantic HurricaneSeason, during whichtime the islands becomesusceptible to theformation of tropicalweather systems whichcan range from a meredisturbance to a category5 hurricane. In addition,the islands are located in a seismicregion, making them susceptible to theimpact of earthquakes. Unlike, thehurricane season, seismic threats areyear round, making it imperative thatbusiness continuity plans developedhere, take into consideration thepotential impact of earthquakes.Regardless of the nature of the threat,planning is essential.International law firm, HarneyWestwood and Riegels (Harneys), theoldest and largest law firm in the BVIhas had a business continuity plan forthe past three years. The firm receivedinput from the Department of DisasterManagement (DDM) under its initiative‘Mainstreaming Company DisasterManagement and Recovery Planning’which is a collaborative effort with thelocal private sector. Patrick Kavanagh isthe Director of Business Services atHarneys. “Having a disaster plan isimportant for any company andparticularly for us since we are in ahurricane zone, which is a major threat,not to discount flooding andearthquakes and yes, tsunamis!”The plan’s overview, last reviewedin January this year, states that itspurpose is to “equip all members of theBusiness Continuity team, other keypersonnel and overseas offices with ahard copy manual containing all theinformation they need to coordinateemergency planning and recovery.” Theoverview further outlines that a“business continuity team has beencreated and assigned specific authorityand responsibility for variousemergency tasks.” The responsibilitiesof team members include overallcoordination of emergencymanagement and recovery;communication with emergencyservices and government agencies;coordination of telecommunicationsand client communication; securingpremises after a disaster impact andsourcing manpower and services forrecovery.It is the responsibility of thebusiness continuity team to meet priorto every foreseeable disaster impact forthe purpose of evaluating the potentialrisk and determining the level ofprecautionary measures to beimplemented to ensure minimaldamage and interruption of operations.To ensure its efficacy and optimise itsrelevance, the business continuity teamis not activated only when there’s animpending impact, the team meetsquarterly to review the plan and ensurethat it remains current and useful. Inaddition to regularly scheduledmeetings, the team will meet morefrequently as becomes necessary toreview procedures relevant to disasterimpact.Information technology (IT) isidentified by CDEMA as one of the keyfacets of business continuity planning36 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


and management. CDEMAacknowledges that “an informationtechnology failure at a business couldmake it difficult or even impossible tocarry out normal day to day activitiesthereby precipitating loss of clientele.”It is quite logical therefore that one ofthe contingencies a business continuityplan is built on is the potential loss ofsome or all forms of normalcommunications, that is, land phones,cellular phones and internet access. Inthe modern world we live in, technologyis at the core of almost everything wedo, a fact which emphasises theimportance of maintainingcommunications. Therefore,alternatives such as walkie-talkies andVHF radios should be periodicallytested and made available for use in theevent of a communications failure.David Kinkead, who is the Directorof Information Technology at Harneysreadily agrees that when technologysystems fail or are affected by naturaldisasters, the impact can betremendous and as such informationtechnology is an integral facet of anybusiness continuity plan. Kinkeadunderscored the particular significanceof this for Harneys. “For our business inparticular, without an IT element inbusiness recovery, we would be overlyexposed. IT has been central to Harneysfor years, it is a key part of the Harneysculture and this is evidenced by thesignificant investment that has beenmade in this facet of our operations.”Harneys operates at a multijurisdictionallevel with offices in theBVI, Cayman Islands, Cyprus, HongKong, London and Montevideo. “Thisexposes us to considerably more risks,”Kinkead explained. “Rather thanprotecting one location from known andcommon threats, we are protecting six.We have the threat of hurricanes in theCaribbean, earthquakes in Asia and thelist goes on.”When the Harneys plan was firstformulated in 2008, the firm operatedin only four jurisdictions. By 2010, thisnumber had grown to six, creatingadditionalchallenges fortheimplementation of disastermitigationmeasures.Multijurisdictionaloperationsmeanconnectivity isa key issue. “Wedo our best toprotect the connectivity betweenlocations,” Kinkead said, adding“connectivity is both important andrelatively expensive.”The good news here is that themulti-jurisdictional operation meansthat the firm is able to spread the risksaround. Therefore the loss of onelocation is not extremely catastrophic tothe overall operation of the company.Kinkead continued, “If we were still inone location, as was the case severalyears ago and that location experienceda disaster, the impact could beenormous. However, as things standnow, we have ready-made recovery sitesas any one of our other locations can beused as a recovery site. As long asaccess is possible, the work cancontinue. Each location has its ownservers and data and it is not strictlynecessary for any one to be up for theothers to operate.”To further safeguard its ability tocontinue operating after a disaster,Harneys is establishing a businessrecovery centre, which is located inJersey in the Channel Islands. “Ourservice provider there is Foreshore,”Kinkead revealed. “The existence ofthis recovery centre conforms toindustry best practice becauseit is geographically removedfrom any of the locations inwhich Harneys operates.”What the existence of thisrecovery site really meansis that in the event of aproblem in one location,staff in other locationscan more easily perform the work of theoffline location until services are fullyrestored there.In designing a business continuityplan, it will be prudent to rememberthat you can’t protect everything andyou can’t protect against everything.This salientadvice comesfrom theHarneys’Director ofInformationTechnology,who says thekey is finding abalancebetween thecost of abusinessrecovery planand the cost of losses stemming from adisaster. “It is easy to get caught uptrying to reach some sort oftechnological nirvana that’s proofagainst every conceivable threat, butthe important thing is trying to balancethe return on an investment so thatpeople can continue to function and youhaven’t spent too much making thathappen.”The second considerationaccording to Kinkead is not getting sowrapped up in IT that the humanelement is forgotten. It is important tobear in mind not just keeping thesystems running but keeping themaccessible and easy to use. Staff willhave lots of priorities in a disastersituation and a disaster recoverysolution that is overly complex ordifficult to access will quickly slip downthat priority list.Mulling over the various threatsKinkead revealed that “in terms of IT,hurricanes are perhaps not the biggestthreat as everyone usually gets so muchtime to prepare. More worrying areconnectivity issues because it does littlegood if staff can access data but can’tcommunicate with clients. Fires andearthquakes are also great risks as theyare unpredictable and can causesignificant and widespread damage.”Kinkead recalled an experience someyears ago, when the network links tothe Hong Kong office went away for anextended period after an earthquakesevered a number of importantundersea cables off the coast of Taiwan.“. . .the important thing istrying to balance the returnon an investment so thatpeople can continue tofunction and you haven’tspent too much making thathappen.”July 2011Disaster Digest 37


Closer to home, Kinkead said theheavy rains and subsequent floodingexperienced in the BVI in 2010 werequite disruptive. “There was noprediction, no extensive preparatorywork. This actually made the floodsmore disruptive than Hurricane Earlbecause with the hurricane, we hadwarnings and were able to engage in thenecessary preparations.”Lessons are continually beinglearned with regard to our businesscontinuity. Kinkead noted for instancethat Hurricane Earl exposed ashortcoming in the amount of generatorfuel stored on site. Expounding on this,Kavanagh noted that “previously withthe approach of a hurricane we wouldshut down all systems and power. Nowwe are in the process of putting in placean external fuel tank to provide a oneweek run-time to keep all systems goingso that all overseas offices can haveaccess to systems and informationhere.”Business continuity planning willalways be a work in progress andKinkead disclosed that one positivedevelopment is virtualisation. “Ourserver infrastructure is now fullyvirtualised which makes disasterrecovery planning much easier. Withvirtualisation, when something fails,you don’t need to physically go to thelocation, changes can be made remotely,which is an extreme plus for businesscontinuity.”There are obviously many facets toa business continuity plan. An obviousquestion is how does it all cometogether? How does it gel? That’s thequestion I put to Managing Partner ofHarneys Richard Peters. “I think it allcomes together through experiencewhether this is through simulationexercises or real events,” Petersresponded, adding, “the meetings of thebusiness continuity team after an eventare the most productive for reviewingour business continuity policies andprocedures.”Peters further elaborated that atthese meetings team members are veryfocused on answering multiplequestions designed to bring aboutimprovements. “Questions such as whatwent wrong? What were the surprises?Where can we make improvementsgiven the nature of the event? Thesemeetings are also important post-eventas each event is different and thecircumstancessurroundingeach eventare alsodifferent.”The Harneysmanagingpartnersunderscoredtheimportanceof sufficientand frequentcommunication with thestaff regardingthe business continuityplans. “In this way having a regularhurricane season does in some waysforce the issue as it is a rare seasonwhen we do not have to go through atleast one partial or entire office shutdown.”The firm’s disaster plan was testedas recently as 2010 when the BVI facedthe threat of Hurricane Earl and alsodealt with the impact of a weathersystem that dumped several inches ofrain on the Territory over consecutivedays, causing widespread flooding.Fortunately, the firm did not suffer anydamage. Though the plan has been inexistence for a while and is constantlyreviewed, Kavanagh remains guardedlycautious about its execution. “It is agood plan if I may say so myself but wemust bear in mind that the most criticalprocesses, to some extent, have neverbeen fully tested or implemented. Forexample, if we had damage to offices etcthat prevented normal business or evenif the island suffered major damagepreventing regular daily operationssuch as communications failures, accessto town, food and water shortages, I’mnot really sure what we would be ableto achieve.”Given the limited testing the planhas had to date, the Harneys Director ofBusiness Services identifiescommunications as a problem. “Eventhough communications was good, itwas flaky and that was without a majoroutage. If we did, I believe that withoutsatellite phones, we would have a hugeproblem even just communicatingbetween the business continuity team.”So how do we determine just how goodthe Harneys business continuity plan is?“I think for real flaws to be detected, wewould have to either simulate a majordisaster or experience one!” Kavanaghresponded. Judging from the old adagethat says ‘experience is the greatestteacher’, I would have to agree withKavanagh. However, I’m sure learningthrough simulation as opposed to anactual disaster will be the preferredmethod for the majority. Employees ofthe firm have consistently participatedin simulation exercises carried out bythe DDM, the most recent being March23, 2011 when the DDM mobilized theTerritory for the National Earthquakeand Tsunami Full Scale SimulationExercise dubbed Caribwave/Lantex 11.The British Virgin Islands havebeen fortunate. The Territory has notrecorded any major natural or manmadedisasters for years. As we look atthe ravages of disasters such as theJanuary 11, 2010 earthquake in Haiti,the impact of Hurricane Ivan onGrenada in 2004 and most recently the9.0 magnitude earthquake that rockedJapan on March 11 followed by thedestructive tsunami, we have to beextremely thankful that we have beenspared the brunt of such impact. Thatbeing said, let us not be complacent andnegate our responsibility to prepare fordisasters. Planning is everything.Adequate preparation can help tominimise the effects of the disasterimpact and that in turn will help toreduce the time and resources neededfor recovery. Create a businesscontinuity plan today, use the Harneysmodel as a template if necessary, reviewregularly and refine accordingly.Philomena Robertson is the Public RelationsOfficer at Harneys in the British Virgin Islands38 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Helping Caribbean Countries Understand Hurricane Risksand Enhance their Preparedness during Hurricanes…CCRIF's Real-Time Forecasting System (RTFS)By Simon Young, Ekhosuehi Iyahen and Elizabeth EmanuelThe ContextThe changing climate is a globaldriver of increasing disaster risk andthreatens to undermine the criticaldevelopment gains made by the mostvulnerable countries, including smallisland developing states such as thosehere in the Caribbean. Over the lastthree decades, the Caribbean region hassuffered direct and indirect lossesestimated at US$700 million and US$3.3billion respectively, owing to naturaldisasters associated with extremeweather events. This is likely to becomeworse as the impacts of climate changebecome more pronounced. Hazardimpacts resulting from this climatevariability have exposed thevulnerability of key sectors in theCaribbean such as tourism, agriculture,fisheries, and water resources.The Caribbean Catastrophe RiskInsurance Facility (CCRIF) had itsgenesis in the very recognition of thedebilitating effect climate-relatedhazards can have on Caribbeancountries. The impact of Hurricane Ivanon the Caribbean in 2004 was a brutalreminder of the need for the provisionof catastrophe risk insurance forcountries within the region andresulted in the creation of CCRIF, a novelidea, nurtured by Caribbeangovernments into a successfullyoperating and globally unique risktransfer solution. Since its inception in2007, CCRIF continues to be included inthe disaster risk management strategiesfor sixteen countries in the CaribbeanRegion who are members of the Facility.This is operationalised through theprovision of hurricane and earthquakeinsurance coverage that CCRIF providesto its member countries which ensuresthat members have access to liquiditywithin fourteen days after a catastropheevent occurs. CCRIF issued 30 annualpolicies to 16 CARICOM countries (itsmembers) for the 2009-2010policy/financial year.It is clear that CCRIF’s policies donot obviate the need for Caribbeangovernments to continue to invest inmitigation activities and in otherfinancing mechanisms to coverrelatively small losses that occur morefrequently such as flash floods, tropicalstorms and heavy rainfall. CCRIFtherefore provides a cost-effectivesolution to one part of the largercomprehensive disaster management(CDM) process. With this in mind,CCRIF has adopted the fundamentalprinciple of building the capacity of itsmembers to reduce their vulnerabilitiesand heighten their resilience bysupporting other aspects of disasterand risk management and to this endhas committed substantial resourcesand effectively engaged with keyregional partners and institutions todevelop and implement a range ofinitiatives that support thesustainability of the countries of theCaribbean. Some of these initiativesinclude:• The development of the Real-Time Forecasting System (RTFS),a storm impact forecast toolwhich provides disastermanagers, meteorologicalofficers and policy makers withreal-time hurricane hazard andimpact information during atropical cyclone.• The development andimplementation of a TechnicalAssistance (TA) Programmegeared towards helpingCaribbean countries deepen theirunderstanding of natural hazardsand the potential impacts ofclimate change on the region.Within the TA Programme, CCRIFrecently conducted a study on theEconomics of Climate Adaptationin eight Caribbean countriestowards providing a tool to assistthe region’s decision makers indefining and developing soundclimate adaptation strategies.Under this programme CCRIFalso has engaged in an agreementwith the University of the WestIndies to provide scholarships toJuly 2011students pursuing courses ofstudy related to disaster riskmanagement• Providing technical assistance forthe reconstruction of Haiti afterthe January 2010 earthquake• Engaging in Memoranda ofUnderstanding with a range ofregional organisations such asCaribbean Disaster andEmergency Management Agency(CDEMA) and United NationsEconomic Commission of LatinAmerica and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC) towards enhancing thedisaster risk managementcapacity of the Region.An Introduction to the Real-Time Forecasting System(RTFS)The Real-Time Impact ForecastingSystem (RTFS) is a storm impactforecast tool which provides users(CCRIF member countries and variousinternational development partners)with access to real-time estimates of theexpected hazard levels and impacts onpopulation and infrastructure for alltropical cyclones, thereby contributingto public safety. This integrated, 3D,high-resolution modelling platform isable to produce detailed information onthe expected hazard levels and theimpacts from tropical cyclones for theentire Caribbean region.The RTFS provides countries withaccess to hazard and impactmaps in Google Earth which showwind speed over terrain, waveheight in open water, storm surgeheight and inundation along thecoast, cumulative rainfall over theduration of the storm, and windeffects on vegetation, structuresand electrical power.Disaster Digest 39


CCRIF provides the RTFS tool to its16 member countries at the start of theAtlantic Hurricane Season on June 1each year. In 2010, CCRIF provided over100 users with access to the RTFS at nocost. The development of the RTFS wasmade possible by technical supportfrom Kinetic Analysis Corporation(KAC) and the Caribbean Institute ofMeteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).The RTFS and CCRIF’s parametrichurricane policies are built on the samehazard and loss estimate modellingplatform, which means that the hazardfootprints from the final track of stormsin the RTFS are the same as those usedin the hazard loss estimate model whichunderpins CCRIF’s policies.By providing advanced knowledgeof a hurricane’s expected site-specificimpacts, the RTFS can assistmeteorological officers and disastermanagement coordinators to supporteffective preparedness and response,evacuation decision making, planningfor pre-positioning of equipment andsupplies, activation of mutual assistancearrangements and asset management aswell as for contingency planning tosecure critical infrastructure andoperations.In other words, the RTFS can effectively:• Assist with contingency planningby providing a preview of whatmight happen if a given stormcontinues along a projected path,and activate appropriatecontingency plans based on thisinsight• Assist with shelter managementby identifying impact areas andshelter locations to supportshelter allocation decisions• Identify potential damage toshelters, thereby aiding decisionmakers to plan for alternatives• Assist with determiningemergency interventions byidentifying areas wherepopulations are at risk so thatdecision makers can issuewarnings and plan for assistance.This real-time service thereforeprovides enhanced value to participantsby improving their understanding ofhurricane risks. The figure below showsways in which the RTFS can be applied.Figure : Applications of the RTFSHow the RTFS isOperationalised – TheTechnical DetailsFor all active tropical stormsystems, the RTFS computes theintensities of the storm hazards alongthe forecasted track, and the potentialimpact of those hazards on affectedterritories. This information is updatedwith each storm advisory issued by theNational Hurricane Center (NHC). Thestorm modelling platform whichsimulates the storm, uses as inputs thelatest storm forecast information andother relevant weather datadownloaded from the NOAAPORTsatellite.From the analysis described above, thefollowing map and tabular informationhas been provided by the RTFS:• maximum expected hazardintensity for wind speed, waveand storm surge height, andcumulative rainfall across theentire impact area of the storm• estimates of the impact on theterritory by varying hazard levels• estimates of the operationalimpact of the storm on majorports and airports• maximum expected hazardvalues from the current storm asforecast, for up to five userselectedlocations. For themaximum wind speed values, thetime at which the maximum willoccur is also provided.CCRIF hazard and impact estimatesare provided for areas between 55°W-91°W longitude and 8°N-34°N latitude.The RTFS data or results areprovided in kml format, which can bedisplayed in Google Earth. This allowsthe user to display the map layers overthe Google Earth background, whichputs the hazard and impact data layersin an easy to visualise local geographiccontext.40 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Figure 2: Wind Speeds (Maximum)Source: A Guide to Understanding the Real-Time Impact Forecasting System, CCRIF, 2010Figure 3: Storm Surge Heights (Peak)Source: A Guide to Understanding the Real-Time Impact Forecasting System, CCRIF, 2010The RTFS is made available via theCCRIF website at www.ccrif.org. Interms of currency of information, userscan benefit from an RTFS feed that isupdated very six hours, consistent witheach storm advisory issued by theNational Hurricane Center (NHC).Modelling results are available within30 minutes of the latest NHC forecast.Essentially, the RTFS outputs are for theexclusive use by governmental and nongovernmentalagencies involved inhurricane risk management. Outputscan be used to produce reports, maps,and other guidance documents insupport of emergency management.Emergency managers can use the RTFSinformation as triggers forpreparedness and alert procedures.Support and Outreach toFacilitate RTFS Usage byMembersCCRIF provides a sub-licence to theCaribbean Institute for Meteorology andHydrology (CIMH) to access the RTFSand use it for training and supportpurposes. One of the goals of thisinitiative is to enhance theunderstanding and use of the RTFSwithin the region and this is supportedby a number of activities undertaken byCIMH as follows:July 2011Disaster Digest 41


Documents and ResourceMaterials Provided to RTFS Users• RTFS User Guide (foraccessing secure RTFS site onCCRIF's website)• RTFS Data User Guide• Google Earth Notes• TAOS-RTFS Outputs for userselected locations• A Guide to Understanding theReal-time Impact ForecastingSystem• Briefing the Caribbean Disasterand Emergency Agency (CDEMA)country preparedness team(s)each time a storm is approachingone or more of the CDEMAmember states• Using RTFS as training materialin its teaching programme formeteorology students• Organising familiarisation andtraining workshops forCaribbean meteorologicalofficers and disastermanagement agencies prior tothe start of the hurricane season• Providing technical support toRTFS users such as technicaladvice on interpretation ofhazard information from theRTFS on an as needed basisApart from encouraging countriesto participate in the training workshopswhich are hosted by the CIMH on theuse of the RTFS, users are also providedwith a User’s Manual and other supportmaterials such as a RTFS Question andAnswer booklet and brochures, all ofwhich can also be found on the CCRIFwebsite. CIMH also provides ???Assessment of the Use of theRTFSDuring the period, 1 June – 30November 2010, the RTFS site wasaccessed 331 times by 11 CCRIFmember states. The site was visitedprimarily during Tropical Cyclones Igor,Richard, Nicole, Matthew, and Tomas.Jamaica was by far the largest user, withone third (111) of the visits, followed byHaiti with 54, Barbados with 41. Belize,Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands,Anguilla, Dominica, Cayman Islands,Trinidad & Tobago and Bermuda alsovisited the site. International agenciesoperating in Haiti accessed the site fromthe United States, Switzerland and theUK.In an attempt to access the value ofthe RTFS to its members and whetherthe tool was effectively meeting theirneeds, CCRIF undertook an analysis ofthe use of the system by conducting asurvey of persons who received accessto the RTFS via the CCRIF website. Thesurvey provided information related to:• The demand for the RTFS bymeteorological officers anddisaster management officers• Knowledge of the RTFS• Usage of the RTFS• Suggested changes/additions tothe RTFS• Adequacy of instructions foraccessing the RTFS• Usefulness of the documentationprovided on the RTFS– was itseen/user friendly ( RTFSBooklet Q & A; User Guide for theRTFS)• Usefulness of the trainingprovided by CIMH on the RTFSIt was clear from the survey thatrespondents felt that the RTFS wasuseful and could be part of the overalldisaster management framework oftheir countries.The Way Forward – The RTFSin 2011Based on the findings of the survey,CCRIF has prepared a plan containing arange of strategies for enhancing thevalue and level of usage of the RTFS.During 2011, CCRIF will undertake thefollowing activities:• Undertake to conduct a 1-2 dayregional training workshop onthe RTFS with its members• Appoint a RTFS coordinator or adedicated person/resource toprovide technical support withrespect to the RTFS to countriesduring the hurricane season.• Develop a concise RTFSCommunication Strategy – thiswould include raising awarenessof the value of the RTFS amongdecision makers – not onlyamong officials who wouldactually use the tool• Work with CIMH to develop amore comprehensive trainingprogramme with clear learningobjectives, course modules,accompanied by appropriatetraining materials• Work with the University of theWest Indies to determine thefeasibility of institutionalising therevised RTFS course or segmentsof it at as part of the overallprogramme of support thatCCRIF is providing to UWIthrough its Technical AssistanceProgramme. This would enhancethe sustainability of the RTFStraining programme as well asensure a wider cadre of personshas knowledge of the RTFS andits uses.• Review and Revise the RTFSQuestion and Answer Bookletand RTFS Brochures• Review and adopt where feasiblethe technical recommendationsmade by RTFS users forenhancement of the RTFS systemitselfCCRIF will continue to find ways tosupport the sustainability of the smallisland states of the Caribbean and feelsthat the RTFS is one tool to help thesecountries better manage in the face ofincreasing hazards. CCRIF will continueto assess the RTFS to ensure that it iseffectively meeting the needs of itsmembers as they move towardsreducing their vulnerabilities andembracing a culture of hazard riskreduction.Simon Young and Ekhosuehi Iyahen areCaribbean Risk Managers Ltd., CCRIF FacilitySupervisor and Elizabeth Emanuel isSustainability Managers, CCRIF CorporateCommunications Manager42 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


By Steve AugustineCorroded roof panels, valleys and flashing | Match profile and replaceDeteriorated roof screws with seals | Match and replaceInappropriately placed roof screws | Remove old panels andplace roof screws as permanufacture’s requirementsLoose roof panels | Secure immediatelyJuly 201143


44 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


July 2011Disaster Digest 45


Health Disaster Managementin the Virgin IslandsBest Practices and challenges within the Health SectorBy Dawn U. LeonardRecently, the world has experiencedits fair share of disasters. Thefrequency and intensity of suchdisasters have reached epicproportions; claiming hundreds ofthousands, if not millions of livesglobally each year. Scientists anddisaster managers are all monitoringclimate change with great concernbecause of its projected impact onweather patterns and its potentialeffects on naturally occurring events.Such events have the potential to wreakcatastrophe both socially andeconomically. Haiti is a powerfulreminder of the tremendous loss of lifeand the socio-economic impact acountry can experience in the aftermathof a disaster. Even the best preparedcountries cannot prepare for everyeventuality. Japan, appeared to havehad a high level of preparedness for theearthquake and tsunami; however theeffects of these concurrent events haveyielded devastating consequences withserious health implications. Japan nowgrapples with the losses due to theearthquake and the tsunami as well ascontaining the radioactive fallout andsafeguarding the health of thepopulation.Health Disaster Managementin the Virgin IslandsIn the Virgin Islands, theDepartment of DisasterManagement has been a model forthe Caribbean in terms of policies, legalframeworks, plans and implementedprogrammes. Health Disasterprogramme has also benefittedtremendously from the expertise andsupport provided by this department inhelping to shape the Health DisasterManagement programme.Though relatively new to theTerritory and the region in general, theVirgin Islands Health DisasterManagement Programme in theMinistry of Health has made somesignificant strides towardsinstitutionalizing disaster managementwithin the health sector. Theprogramme exists to lead, coordinateand support the efforts of the Ministryof Health and Social Development andof the entire Health Sector to reduce theimpact of natural, technological or manmadedisasters on public health. Itsmission is the prevention, mitigation,preparedness, response and recoveryrelated to public health disastersincluding but not limited to theprovisions of medical care, thesurveillance and control of diseases, theavailability of safe water and sanitation.This is accomplished through theprogramme’s five-tiered approach todisaster management (preparednessplanning, mitigation planning, publicinformation and education,management of health resources,training and research), which areachieved through the effectiveutilization of “best practices” withineach component.Best PracticesCurrently the Territory is one of thefew in the region to have a designated,full-time Health Disaster Coordinator; abest practice that is still to be realizedin other parts of the region. Theappointment of this important resourceDisaster Digest July 2011within the Ministry of Health meansthat the Health Disaster Managementprogramme has a full-time, designatedstaff committed to enhancing the healthsector’s capacity and resilience inhealth disaster situations. The HealthDisaster Coordinator is responsible forthe development of the health sector’sdisaster preparedness, mitigation, andprevention programs. In the Caribbeanand Latin America, the complexity ofthe responsibilities of Health DisasterCoordinators has progressively evolvedfrom those of a low-profiletroubleshooter to a multifaceted skilledprofessional, responsible for leading thenational health disaster managementprogramme. That person is also thehealth disaster focal point for thenational disaster agency and the Pan-American Health Organization. Sufficeit to say, this programme does not andcannot function independently but mustrely on the expertise, input, support andcollaboration of many other agenciesworking harmoniously for theachievement of shared goals; bothlocally and regionally.Preparedness PlanningHealth Disaster managementinvolves the development of severaltypes of plans including but not limitedto national Health Sector EmergencyManagement Plan. Other plans includethe Pandemic Influenza Plan andHospital Preparedness Plans that willbecome a part of the National HealthSector Plan. Experience has taught that,these plans must be flexible enough tomanage other hazards. Anotheressential component of planning is thatof simulation exercises. Once the planshave been written and vetted it isimportant that they are tested with full


health sector representation andparticipation. Equally important is theorientation of new staff to all plans.Staff must know their roles andresponsibilities in the event of anemergency or disaster according to theplan; hence, the need for regular andplanned simulation exercises.MitigationThe intent of hazard mitigationplanning is to target resources andprioritize mitigation activities to lessenthe effects of health disasters on thepopulation, communities, businesses,industries, and government. In theregion, through very unfortunateevents, hospitals and other criticalhealth care facilities have been severelyimpacted by various events,significantly diminishingcountries ability to serve itspeople from a health careperspective; therebyincreasing suffering and lossof lives. The Pan-AmericanHealth Organisation (PAHO)has initiated the SafeHospital Index to helpcountries assess theircritical health infrastructure;as a result, it will helpcountries to prioritize workneeded to correct problems or to revisittheir plans for these criticalinfrastructures.Public Education and InformationPublic Information and Educationprovides the general public witheducation on the nature of healthdisasters, preventive and protectivemeasures, as well as awareness of theresponsibilities of Government andcitizens in a healthdisaster. During an eventthat impacts health, thisfunction focuses onproviding accurate,timely, and usefulinformation andinstructions topeople at risk in thecommunitythroughout thedisaster period.Public Education andInformation plansmust address thehazards that threatensa particular locale and provide timely,accurate, culturally sensitiveinformation throughout the disastermanagement cycle.Management of Health ResourcesHuman Resource Managementinvolves the systematic development ofmethodologies for the prompt andeffective identification, acquisition,distribution, accounting, and use ofpersonnel, facilities, and major items ofequipment and supplies essential foremergency functions. During an eventit is very important to knowbeforehand, where and how much ofwhat resources are in country at thetime. It is equally important for thisinformation to be accurate andtherefore demand proper informationmanagement.“can we reallyafford to just sitback and donothing or will bewiser for taking amore proactiveapproach todisastermanagement”Training and ResearchContinuous andsystematic training ofhealth personnel is vital tothe preparedness ofhuman resources, whichensures their ability torespond during a healthdisaster. Research isessential to keep on thecutting edge of technology,resources and newmethodologies to respond during ahealth disaster. In the Virgin Islands,several training programmes have beenconducted to build capacity in NationalInfluenza Pandemic Preparedness(NIPP), Mass Fatality Planning, MassCasualty Management (MCM),Emergency Care and Treatment (ECAT)and Logistic Support System (LSS), RiskCommunication usually with technicalsupport from PAHO and or theJuly 2011Department of Disaster Management(DDM).During influenza AH1N1 pandemic,several actions were deemed as “bestpractices for the BVI such as: enhancingsurveillance systems to detect spikesand variances in certain diseasepatterns once there is a threat;continuous education was shown to bevitally important in helping people tounderstand their role in minimizing lossof life and working closely with keystakeholders to mitigate the threat.ConclusionThe question is therefore, “can wereally afford to just sit back and donothing or will we be wiser for taking amore proactive approach to disastermanagement?” The latter has provenover and over again to be morebeneficial. In 2009, we witnessed amodern pandemic of Novel Influenza AH1N1. While neither the intensity northe severity of this pandemic couldcompare to past pandemics and we arethankful; it has certainly awakened theconsciousness of those who never paidany attention to the ramifications ofsuch events on our way of life, ourhealth and on commerce etc. Thisawareness was accomplished to a largeextent in the Virgin Islands through theHealth Disaster ManagementProgramme.As the Caribbean and the widerworld observe an increase in naturaland man-made disasters, the possibilityfor them impacting the health of peopleand their well-being exist. It istherefore incumbent upon healthdisaster practitioners to remain on thecutting edge of technology and stay intuned with current best practices, inorder to fulfill the mandate of ourprofession – to prepare, prevent, protectand effectively recover from any eventthat impacts health.Traditional disaster agencies havealways advocated for proper planning,especially the development of disasterplans and business continuity guides,however, these admonitions often seemto fall on deaf ears. In the face of anypotential or perceived event therealways seems to be a heightenedawareness and in some instances anurgency to develop such plans but assoon as anticipation is dispelled, thealarm gets diminished and the urgencyis allayed. This laissez-faire attitude isDisaster Digest 47


very deceiving and dangerous becausewe are only as prepared as our bestwritten and tested plans.The institutionalisation of disastermanagement must be integrally woveninto all our planning. Disastermanagement needs to become a part ofall our strategic planning anddevelopment. It means we will notdraw architectural plans unless weensure its’ structural integrity meet atleast a minimum standard, it means thateach and every department,organization, firm will have a disasterplan. It means that disastermanagement will be a key factor whendiscussions are on the table regardingsustainable development, including thebuilding of private homes.While we cannot avoid disasters,we certainly can mitigate to minimisetheir effects with a goal of reducing theloss of life and property. The significantimplications to financial and humanloss are evident when disastermanagement is taken for granted.Vulnerable hospitals and other healthmeet theinfrastructurepresent more than aconcern ofproviding adequatemedical care; it candirectly hinder theentire recoveryprocess and create asubstantial sociofinancialburden onan economy.Fullinstitutionalisation ofdisaster managementin health is still achallenge. However,despite the challenges,the health sector mustblaze the trail in promotingand advocating the institutionalisationof disaster management in each agency;consequently, the health sector willbenefit tremendously from efforts madeto reduce overall vulnerabilities in othersectors. The achievement of fullyinstitutionalizing disaster managementprogrammes is the only long-termsolution toreducing thevulnerability ofall sectors ofsociety todisasters”. TheHealthDisasterManagementProgrammehasestablisheditself as an“essential”strategicdisastermanagementtool for theTerritory. It is no longer limitedto disaster recovery but rather is seenas an integral programme within theHealth Sector for countries seriousabout comprehensive disastermanagement.Dawn U. Leonard is the Health DisasterCoordinator with the Ministry of Health andSocial Development - Virgin IslandsMarissa Da BreoauthorLEED®APThis work defines a sustainable energy plan to provide the basis for renewable energyinitiatives that will increase energy security, reduce negative economic impacts and providea cleaner environment. The hotel, agriculture, transportation, construction, utility,government and private sectors will play pivotal roles in achieving targets and will seesignificant gains. Government policies, educational campaigns and financial incentives willbe required to facilitate and encourage renewable energy development andentrepreneurship. Utilization of solar energy, energy conservation measures and the use ofefficient and alternative fuel vehicles by the commercial/industrial and private sectors willbe crucial in meeting targets. The utility company will be charged with developing largescale renewable energy applications and with improving efficiency of the electrical system.This document, although developed for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, could be used byother small island economies as the basis for developing renewable energy. This work maybe useful to governments, organizations, groups, entrepreneurs and students.Marissa Da Breo earned her Master's in Natural Resource Management from the Universityof Denver's Environmental Policy and Management program in 2008 and a Bsc Degree inEnvironmental Science from Long Island University in 1999. Ms. Da Breo is also a LEED© AP(Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Accredited Professional).48 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Climate Change andWind Speeds in the CaribbeanTony Gibbs BSc DCT(Leeds) CEng FICE FIStructE FASCE FRSA FRICSHistorical BackgroundDuring the past 50 years there hasbeen a steady evolution of wind speedsfor structural design in theCommonwealth Caribbean. In the early1960s the British code CP3:ChapterV:Part 2:1952 was a common referencedocument. However, it did not addresshurricane force winds. In the mid to late1960s engineers gravitated towards theSouth Florida Building Code. In thatdocument the procedures forcalculating wind loads were veryelementary. In 1970 the first CCEO1standard was published. This followedthe philosophy of the then yet-to-bepublishedBritish standard CP3:ChapterV:Part 2:1972. The meteorological workfor the CCEO standard was done byHarold C Shellard, an internationallyrenownedmeteorologist who workedwith the Caribbean MeteorologicalInstitute (CMI) in Barbados for 3 years.The CCEO standard was revised in1981and was subsequently adooptedformally as the Barbados standard BNSCP28. The meteorological work for the1981 revision was done by BasilRocheford of CMI. In 1985, as part ofthe CUBiC2 project, a team from theUniversity of Western Ontario led bythe worldfamousProfessor AlanDavenport undertook a majorstudy of the wind hazard in theCaribbean. Most recently, in 2008, theresults of the Caribbean Basin WindHazard Study were published. Theprincipal researcher was PeterVickery of Applied ResearchAssociates. The author of this paperwas fortunate to have been directlyinvolved with all of the projects from1969-70 to the present.Climate ChangeHurricane Catarina made landfall inthe north of Brazil on 27 March 2004.This was the first hurricane everrecorded in the South Atlantic.Hurricane Ivan struck the island ofGrenada on 07 September 2004 withpeak gust winds of 135 mph. Accordingto the USA National Hurricane CentreIvan was “... the most intense hurricaneever recorded so close to the equator inthe North Atlantic”. On 30 August 2008a new world surface wind gust recordfor hurricanes was registered at thePaso Real de San Diego meteorologicalstation in Pinar del Rio (Cuba) duringHurricane Gustav. The Dines pressuretube anemometer recorded a gust of211 mph. Are these isolated incidentsor portents of future climate?In 2008 the World Bank funded amulti-faceted project. One componentwas the investigation of the possibleeffects of climate change on windspeeds for structural design in theisland of St Lucia. The project wasexecuted by the CCCCC3 and the actualwork was done by the ICC4 using theservices of Georgia Institute ofTechnology, Applied ResearchAssociates Inc and Tony Gibbs.Hurricane activity inthe North Atlantic(including the Caribbean)follows multi-decadal cycles.The current warm phase of theAtlantic multi-decadal oscillationis expected to extend to the year2025. By that time it is expected thatthe sea-surface temperatures wouldhave risen by 1°F. The regionexperiences historically morehurricanes, and more severehurricanes, during warm phases ofAtlantic multi-decadaloscillations.The number of tropicalcyclones in the North Atlantichave averaged 10 per year in the past50 years and 14 per year in the pastdecade. This is projected to rise to 15-20 per year by 2025. The combinationof greenhouse warming and naturalcyclical variability of the climate willproduce unprecedented tropicalcyclone activity in the coming decades.Effects on Wind SpeedsFor conventional buildings theproposed Caribbean wind load standardwill adopt 700-year return period windspeeds and for important buildings the1,700-year return period wind speedswill be adopted. (These return periodsprovide “ultimate” or failure windspeeds.)There could be an average of threeto four Category 4 and 5 hurricanes peryear by 2025 in the North Atlantic. Thisrepresents a 210 to 280 percentincrease in the number of Category 4and 5 hurricanes compared to the longterm(1944-2007) average of 1.4Category 4 and 5 hurricanes per year. Ifthis turns out to be the case, the basicwind speeds for conventional buildingsin St Lucia would be increased by about12 to 14 percent over the current 700-year speeds (25 to 30 percent increasein forces), and the basic wind speeds forimportant buildings would be increasedby about 10 percent over the current1,700-year speeds (21 percent increasein forces).Although the studies were carriedout specifically for St Lucia, the resultsare probably valid for most of theEastern Caribbean and are generallyindicative of what is in store for much ofthe North Atlantic.Associated HazardsThe hazards of waves and stormsurge are related to wind speeds. Withincreases in speeds it is reasonable toconclude that waves and storm surgewill pose more intense threats incoming years. These threats will befurther amplified by rising sea levels.Most of the economic activities ofCaribbean islands are located in coastalareas. Therefore the issues of globalwarming, rising sea levels, increasedwave energy, more severe storm surgeand increased wind speeds are ofcritical importance to the long-termsustainability of the economies of theregion. As a consequence, the structuralengineers of the Caribbean have avested interest in all efforts worldwideto mitigate anthropological-inducedclimate change.Tony Gibbs is a civil engineer specializing in structures and practising mainly in the Caribbean


Radar Eyes in the SkyCan Satellites Contribute to DetailedHurricane Damage Assessment in the Caribbean?By Guy Aube and Dirk WerleDisaster Management Capacity WithEarth ObservationOne of the enduring images ofhurricanes in the public perceptiontoday is shaped by the widespreadvortices on weather satellite imagesthat capture movement, shape andextent of these menacing cloudformations. With the help of suchsatellite imagery and analytical models,meteorologists have made great stridesto analyze and predict the behaviour ofhurricanes and issue timely warnings toendangered regions and the people.Still, the destructive forces of excessiverain, high wind and pounding wavesusually associated withhurricanes canwreakhavoc along their path.Especially in the Caribbean, there isa long history and vivid memory of pastevents. The hurricane threat demandscareful preparation in order to protectthe population and safeguard againstdamage and loss of properties andlivelihoods. Disaster and emergencymanagement at local, national andinternational scales require reliable andup-to-date information, and resourcesto support mitigation, response andplanning activities.Can space-based technology of asimilar kind, namely high-resolutionsatellite imaging instruments, be of helpto provide detailed images andinformation forlocalhurricane damage assessments in thesame way as weather satellites havebecome indispensable tools for trackinghurricanes over very large areas? Inorder to answer this question, NASAand the Canadian Space Agency teamedup with Disaster and Emergencymanagement departments and agenciesin the Caribbean for a series of trialsduring the 2010 hurricane season.The initiative for this undertakingcame from the Group on EarthObservations(www.earthobservations.org). GEO is avoluntary partnership of governmentsand international organizationsexploiting the growing potential ofEarth observation satellites to supportdecision making in an increasinglycomplex and environmentally stressedworld. The Caribbean Satellite DisasterPilot (CSDP) is a regional projectamong an entire roster of GEOtasks. It was established in2009 in closecooperation with theinternationalCommittee onEarth


Observation Satellites (www.ceos.org)and regional institutions such as theCaribbean Disaster and EmergencyManagement Agency (www.cdema.org),the Caribbean Institute for Meteorologyand Hydrology (www.cimh.edu.bb) andthe University of the West Indies(www.uwi.edu).The CSDP has three goals: (i) todemonstrate how the use of satelliteimagery can in effect strengthenregional, national and community levelcapacity for mitigation, managementand coordinated response to naturalhazards; (ii) to identify specific satellitederivedproducts can be used fordisaster mitigation and response on aregional level; (iii) to identify capacitybuilding activities that will helpintegrate satellite-based informationinto disaster management initiatives.Five sub-projects have been established.Project 2 is a multi-year effortsupported by Canada. The focus is on"Coastal Decision Support with EarthObservation". In 2010, its objective wasto capture and utilize high-resolutionsatellite images of the very regions,populated areas and livelihoods thathave been most severely hit byhurricanes so as to assist in emergencymanagement and mapping.Under the umbrella of the CSDP, theCSA is committed to foster one of sixsub-projects, entitled "Coastal DecisionSupport with Earth Observation", alsoknown as "CSDP No. 2". The goal ofCSDP No.2 is to enhance EO capacity ofauthorities in British Virgin Islands(BVI), Grenada, Jamaica and St. Lucia,who are engaged in coastal disastermanagement and emergency response.This article outlines on-going activitiesinvolving Canadian RADARSAT as wellas other EO satellite data acquisitionsto-date over selected Caribbean sites,and highlights some image maps andinformation products that wereproduced as part of several trials duringthe 2010 hurricane season. From thistrial phase we expect constructivefeedback and further improvements,particularly with regard to operationalusefulness of detailed EO satellite data.Based on information provided byNOAA's National Hurricane Center inthe United States, the Atlantic hurricaneseason of 2010 was extremely active(Figure 2), comparable to the 1995Atlantic hurricane season and the 1887Atlantic hurricane season with the thirdFigure 2. Track and intensity of hurricanes and tropical storms in the Atlantic Basin during the2010 hurricane season. (Source: NASA/NOAA)most named storms (19). The 2010season also ties with the 1969 and 1887seasons for the second most hurricanes(12). From the end of August toward theend of September 2010, there washardly a single day without at least onetropical cyclone active in the region.Preparation and Response:Capturing detailed RADARSAT-2ImageryBased stated CSDP goals and theconsultation process, we prepared awork plan and a RADARSAT-2 dataacquisition strategy for review by CSDPlead authorities and project partners inthe Caribbean. The emergencymanagement authorities in the BVI,Grenada, Jamaica and Saint Luciaformally endorsed the plan. At thebeginning of the 2010 hurricane season,a series of very detailed RADARSAT-2imagery were acquired over selectedportions of the participating islandstates as a potentially valuable elementfor 'change-detection', involvingRADARSAT-2 data acquired during orimmediately after the passage of atropical storm and hurricane system.The trials during the 2010hurricane season involve an entirechain of activities from initialsituational awareness to RADARSAT-2data acquisition planning; actualsatellite image reception, image mapproduction, and transfer to Caribbeanoperation centres, and assessment andevaluation of products and procedures.Situational awareness of hurricane inthe Caribbean relied heavily oninformation from the NationalHurricane Center in the United Statesand on expert assessments of theCaribbean project partners. ActualRADARSAT-2 data acquisitions werebased on an informed "anticipatory"planning process.For the duration of the hurricaneseason CSA contracted two Canadiancompanies, Dendron Resources Surveysand VIASAT GeoTechnologies, to standbyfor rapid RADARSAT imageprocessing and for EO-basedinformation product generation anddelivery. Following the successfulexecution of the acquisition plans andraw data collection, the processedRADARSAT-2 SAR imagery wereavailable within a few hours from thesatellite operator, MacDonald Dettwilerand Associated Ltd (MDA), for furtherimage processing, change detectionanalysis and product generation forselected areas.Our focus was on any potentialhurricane or tropical storm impact onthe territories of the project partners inBVI, Grenada, Jamaica and Saint Lucia.Three of the four countries wereaffected during the 2010 hurricaneseason, and the CSA team acquiredmore than 30 detailed RADARSAT-2images in total after 'Earl' in August,'Nicole' in September, and 'Tomas' inOctober and November of 2010. Thefollowing contains a more detailedaccount of the events and EO relatedresponse activities.July 2011Disaster Digest 51


Hurricane Earl and its Impact on theBritish Virgin IslandsOn August 29, 2010, Earlstrengthened to become the season'sthird hurricane. Earl quickly intensifiedto a Category 4 and become the secondmajor hurricane of the season onAugust 30 as it approached the VirginIslands. The islands were battered withtropical storm winds and high gusts.Throughout the region, heavy rainsflooded low-lying areas; power andwater supply was lost to the entireTerritory; and several vessels on Tortolawere grounded. The BVI Governmentestimated that the cost associated withthe impact of Earl amounted to $7million.CSA relied on RADARSAT-2 imagerycollected before the passage of Earl inJuly 2010, and immediately after onSeptember 2, 2010 to provideassistance for local damageassessments along the coastlines of theislands of Tortola and Anegada. Changedetection involving the two data setsindicated minor damage (Figure 3) aswell as flooding in low-lying areas. A setof four annotated image maps withpartial coverage of the islands of Tortolaand Anegada were transferred to theBVI Department of DisasterManagement for further review of theRADARSAT-2 image analysis results.Actual communication took place viaInternet, but it was hampered by localpower failures. Access to all the imagemap products referred to in this articlemay be obtained soon atwww.ceos.org/disasters/csdp.Tropical Storm Nicole and its impacton JamaicaNicole attained tropical depressionstatus over the northwestern CaribbeanSea on September 28, 2010. Torrentialrains fell along the eastern periphery ofthe storm system across the westernCaribbean, particularly Jamaica, wheremore than 300,000 residences were leftwithout power during the passage ofthe storm. There were 13 confirmedfatalities. In Jamaica, schools and somebusinesses closed on September 29 and30. Emergency officials issued a floodwarning for flood-prone areas. Theextensive floods resulted in damageestimated at $235.4 million. CSAobtained RADARSAT-2 Fine modeimagery immediately after the passageof Nicole on October 2, 2010 to provideFigure 3. Illustration (detail) of coastal damage indicated on RADARSAT--2 ultrafine mode imageryacquired over Road Town, Tortola, British Virgin Islands, on September 2, 2010, two days after thepassage of Hurricane Earl. (Credit: Dendron Resource Surveys, MDA and Google Earth, 2010)Figure 4. Illustration (detail) of a regional RADARSAT--2 Fine mode change detection image mapof the Spanish Town area of Jamaica, involving radar imagery acquired on July 18 and immediateafter the passage of Tropical Storm Nicole on October 5, 2010. Areas outlined in red indicatespecific changes related to local flooding. (Credit: CSA and VIASAT Geotechnologies, RADARSATdata copyright MDA 2010)52 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Figure 5. Example of a CSDP Project #2 trial product (reduced in size) with regionalRADARSAT_2change detection (large map) of the Kingston and Spanish Town area of Jamaica, involving radarimagery acquired on July 18 and immediate after the passage of Tropical Storm Nicole on October5,2010.(Credit: CSA and VIASAT Geotechnologies, RADARSAT data copyright MDA 2010)assistance for regional damageassessment of the east-central portionof Jamaica. Change detection alsoinvolved July 22 Fine mode imagerycollected during the preparation phaseof the project. A colour compositeproduct for the Kingston - SpanishTown area is shown in Figures 4 and 5,covering an area of approximately 50km by 30 km at a spatial resolution is10 meters. A set of three annotatedimage maps were transferred to theJamaican Office for DisasterPreparedness and EmergencyManagement (OPDEM) for furtherassessments of the RADARSAT-2 imageanalysis results.Hurricane Tomas and its Impact onSaint LuciaOn October 29, Tomas became thetwelfth hurricane of the season andJuly 2011crossed the Windward Islands as aCategory 1 hurricane, severely affectingBarbados, Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent.Tomas weakened slowly until midnighton November 2. On November 3, Tomasregained strength, and early onNovember 5 it became a hurricaneagain as it approached Haiti. On SaintLucia, there was widespread damage tohomes and power lines. Throughout theisland, severe flooding and mudslidesresulted in at least 14 fatalities. Earlyassessments indicated that damagewould reach US$500 million. Reportsalso indicated that much of the bananacrop, the largest agricultural exportproduct of the island, was destroyed.By monitoring the earlydevelopment and track projections ofHurricane Tomas, based on US NationalHurricane Center advisories, CSA wasable to plan RADARSAT dataacquisitions in advance of Tomasapproaching the Leeward Islands. TheCSA obtained RADARSAT-2 Ultra-finemode imagery over the island of SaintLucia just before and immediately afterthe passage of Hurricane Tomas onOctober 24 and on October 30,respectively. The RADARSAT changedetection products were transferred tothe national emergency managementauthorities in Saint Lucia and offeredsome guidance to non-governmentalorganizations as well, e.g. MapAction ofGreat Britain. The products provideduseful information for the northernportion of the island (Figure 6), clearlyindicting nature and area extent of localflooding in low-lying areas at a spatialresolution of 3 meters. Optical imagerytaken from the International SpaceStation (ISS) on December 16, 2009 andby the American EO-1 ALI sensor onNovember 9, 2010, provided usefulreference information for theinterpretation of the radar imagery. Inthe absence of detailed digital elevationmodel (DEM) data, the radar data wasof limited utility in mountainousterrain; hence it was not possible toidentify areas of landslides andmudslides with any degree of reliabilityduring the trial stage.Summary and OutlookThe 2010 Hurricane season in theCaribbean is exemplary of a number oftrials with regard to detailed changedetection and damage assessmentinvolving multi-temporal RADARSAT-2Disaster Digest 53


Figure 6. Illustration of a detailed RADARSAT--2 Ultra--fine mode change detection image productof October 24 and October 30 radar data acquisitions for Saint Lucia, clearly showing extent oflocal flooding (marked in red) in low-lying areas following the passage of Hurricane Tomas.(Credit: CSA and VIASAT Geotechnologies)Fine and Ultra-fine mode dataacquisition before and after the passageof significant hurricane and tropicalstorm events. Focusing on the fourparticipating island states of the BritishVirgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica andSaint Lucia, Table 1 contains a summaryof the types and number of EO-basedinformation products and imagescollected. We concentrated and reliedupon radar imagery for productgeneration and feature identification.While optical images, for example EO-1ALI appear to be useful andcomplementary to radar image analysis,there was a significant problem in thatcloud coverage frequently obscuredareas of interest on the ground. Theready availability of DEM and GIS datalayers remains an issue, as both wouldhelp to increase accuracy and analysisof the EO data set.While the technical feasibility ofacquiring, processing and relaying EObasedgeospatial information productsto CSDP project partners in theCaribbean was tested with successduring the 2010 hurricane season, thereremains important work to be done inorder to increase local capacity toutilize the products in an effective andtimely manner and to assess theiraccuracy, content and format inoperational settings of disaster andemergency management situations.In close cooperation with Canadianindustry and the Caribbeanproject partners, the CSDP No.2 team is planning a series ofEO-related information andtraining sessions in Barbados,the British Virgin Islands,Grenada, Jamaica and SaintLucia. These sessions addresstechnical, operational andadministrative issues and willinclude a critical review andevaluation of the 2010hurricane season trial results.Based on the review andevaluation process we willjointly address how Earthobservation technology andanalysis know-how can make54 Disaster DigestJuly 2011useful contributions to the practice ofemergency and disaster management inthe Caribbean.AcknowledgmentThe work under CSDP Project No. 2 is ateam effort, involving members inCaribbean, Canada, and the UnitedStates. In the Caribbean, theparticipating disaster and emergencymanagement organizations includedOPDEM in Jamaica, NEMO in SaintLucia, NaDMA in Grenada, theDepartment of Disaster Management ofthe British Virgin Islands, and theDepartment of Emergency Managementof Barbados. Coordination was providedby CDEMA. We are grateful to ourcolleagues Michelle Edwards, ThomasAuguste, Benedict Peters, SharleenDabreo, Judy Thomas, and NicoleAlleyne. The overall CSDP coordinationlies with Stuart Frye of NASA. The CSDPNo. 2 efforts at the Canadian SpaceAgency are directed and lead by GuySeguin and Guy Aube, with technicaland scientific support from Dirk Werle.This article was prepared on behalf ofthe CSDP Project No. 2 Team by GuyAube and Dirk Werle.Contact of AuthorsGuy AubeCanadian Space Agency, EarthObservation Applications andUtilizations, 6767 route de l'Aeroport,St-Hubert, Quebec, Canada, J3Y 8Y9Email: guy.aube@asc-csa.gc.caDirk WerleAerde Environmental Research, Halifax,Nova Scotia, Canada Email:dwerle@ca.inter.netMr. Dirk Werle displaying some of the satellite imagery toparticipants at a workshop in Virgin Islands - March, 2011


Are Schools Being Prepared For andMade Safe Against Disasters?By Sharleen S. DaBreoFor parents and guardians withchildren in school, do you give muchthought to how your child would beaffected in the unfortunate event thathis or her school is impacted by adisaster? Many of us only regardhurricanes and the luxury of timeafforded, enabling us to get our childrenhome while making the necessarypreparations for the approaching storm.Have we considered whether or notschool administrators and teachershave a plan of action to activate andfollow, should they face the occurrenceof an earthquake, tsunami warning oreven a fire?Schools are heavily populatedbuildings where children of all ageslearn and play between 7-9 hours perday. They must therefore be housed notonly in structurally safe buildings, butalso in structured environments thathave been organizationally prepared fordisasters.One of the most visible effects onthe people of Haiti following the impactof the January 12 2010 earthquake wasthe level of destruction to schools andthe number of children who perished inthis event. William Booth and ScottWilson of the Washington Post wrote“Of the many things taken from this cityby the earthquake, few are asthreatening to Haiti's future as the neardestruction of a school system viewedacross society here as the only path to abetter life. Education is as precious aswater in Haiti.” After the earthquake, noschool building could be seen standingand many children were either dead ortrapped in the ruins. A grim census hadto be undertaken to determine the lossof teachers and staff. Booth and Wilsonfurther stated “In the quake's aftermath,the debris-filled sites where schoolsonce stood are the places that smell thestrongest of death. They were filledwith children.” People around theworld watched the response operationstake place and sympathized with themany parents who lost children. Schooladministrators had little or no time toact. It was highly doubtful thatfrequently tested plans were in place toensure that children and schooladministrators were aware of what theycould do to save themselves from theeffects of the quake.One of the key components ofDisaster Management, consistentlyaddressed by the VI Department ofDisaster Management, is institutingdisaster resilience programmes thatfocus on disaster Prevention andMitigationwithin schoolenvironments.In 2004, asurvey wasissued to allschoolsthroughoutthe Territoryto determinetheir level ofpreparedness.The resultsrevealed thatthere was aneed for astructured programme to identify thenumerous deficiencies that weredocumented.Since 2006,the DDM, in conjunctionwith the Department of Education,developed a School Preparednessinitiative with the first phase focusingon Disaster Planning and training. ASchool Disaster Management Plantemplate was developed to be used byDay Care facilities. A second templatewas developed to allow for adaptationby Preprimary, Primary and Tertiaryinstitutions. To date, direct assistancehas been provided to 18 schools and 8daycare facilities to assist in themodification of the template to developspecific plans to suit their schoolenvironment and the facility in whichthey operate. The development of theplan was followed by fire suppressiontraining and First Aid and CPR trainingboth were designed and offered to allschools, including Day Care facilities.Over the years, the DDM has developeda number of publications tailored forschools at all levels. These publicationsare available for access and can befound on the DDM’s website atwww.bviddm.com .In 2010, the DDM focused on theinstallation of warning devices inschools. Engineers from viaRadioCorporation worked alongsidetechnicians at the DDM to installwarning devices within 45 criticalfacilities, including private and publicschools. The components installed willoffer an alerting system which provides


almost instantaneous messaging topersons who are indoors and are unableto hear the outdoor sirens locatedthroughout the Territory. This projectreceived partial funding from theCanadian International DevelopmentAgency (CIDA) in the amount ofapproximately US$17,000.00 topurchase the major components of theviaRadio system sold by the viaRadioCorperation. The units work bytransmitting signals from serverslocated at radio stations to the unitsinstalled at the critical facilities. Theyprovide a warning tone accompanied bya message. The message providesspecific instructions to key personnel,outlining the actions they should take inthe event of a natural and technologicalhazard impact, or for informationalpurposes. The message can betransmitted in either English orSpanish. These units will allow for massnotification and can also be furtherlinked to mobile telephones and e-mailsystems for simultaneous alerting,options which are under considerationfor future use.In 2011, the DDM will once againpartner with the Department ofEducation to develop a School SafetyPolicy and Safety AssessmentInstrument with accompanyingguidelines and database. The Policywill provide measures to be taken byevery educational institution (publicand private) to undertake riskassessment and implement measures toensure the safety of school buildings,their environment and the protection ofchildren while at these institutions.Because schools are designated ascritical infrastructure, this policy isexpected to establish minimumstandards for school construction.These standards will include bothstructural and non-structural mitigationcomponents. An additional componentto the policy will be the development ofa Safety Checklist and Guidelines for theimplementation of this tool on anannual basis for all educationalinstitutions to obtain certification withrespect to their location, design,construction, retrofitting, environment,play grounds, evacuation and disasterplanning procedures etc. A simpledatabase will accompany the checklistto allow for the capturing and analyzingof the data collected. The Policy and theaccompanying Audit Tool and databasewill provide the necessary proceduresto allow for amendment to the existingeducation laws to include disaster riskreduction measures.In many countries within theCaribbean Region, schools must serveas Emergency Shelters not only for thestudents and staff, but also for thecommunity at large. That places anextra responsibility on schooladministrators to make sure theirshelters are properly designed toprotect people. Fortunately, only 6 ofthe 34 designated Emergency Sheltersin the VI are schools. Many of theEmergency Shelters are CommunityCenters and Church Halls built orretrofitted to shelter specifications.This ensures that in the event of anemergency there is an opportunity toresume school activities to allow forlessening of the psychological impact onchildren, and to facilitate rapid recovery.THEWe do sales, installationsand servicing of manyconsumer electronicsand appliancesNational Appliance ServiceTechnician CertificationFactory Trained to repair:284 496 8748#27 SKELTON BAYLOT,FISH BAY, TORTOLA, VIA professional company, providingour clients with signature designsfrom conception to implementation.STO Enterpises Ltd.Office - 284 494 8803Mobile - 284 499 2236dion.adc@surfbvi.comP.O. Box 612West End, TortolaBritish Virgin IslandsStudents and teachers of the Willard Wheatley - VI participating in the CARIBE WAVE/LANTEXexercise 201156 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Each time I have broached thesubject of social media and its use indisaster management, I often get an eyeroll or two followed by complaintsabout the Caribbean’s electrical andtelecommunications infrastructure andeven questions using the web todisseminate information reaches theright audience. Valid points yes, in1999, but what about the year 2011?I am going to go out on a limb andsay by the end of 2011, the Internet willsurpass all media as the number onemode by which persons receive theirnews. With the advancement oftechnology and gadgets like the iPad,and even smarter mobile phones,people all over the world getinformation as it happens. We are inthe age of the 24 hour news cycle. Thefamily no longer gathers to listen to theevening news and the readership oftraditional print media has yielded toweb 2.0, either folding its printproduction or reinventing itself tocapitalise on the online market. Whywait for the radio broadcast at noon, thenightly television news or the weeklynewspaper when information can bereceived almost immediately?While we still have challengescollectingBy Sachkia Barnesbaseline data on current internet usagein the Caribbean, a look at the UnitedStates and its statistics can give us anidea of the direction the region might beheading. A 2010 study by Pew Internetfound that though television is still themain source of news gathering, (78% ofAmericans get their news this way), theInternet comes in at second with 61%of news seekers getting theirinformation online. The study alsofound that of that 61%, 75% ofAmericans get their information vianews feeds from their social medianetworks and re-postings by friendsand colleagues.I consider my own news gatheringevolution as a perfect example of thechange in technologies and newssources. In 1989 as heavy rains andwinds lashed the shores of Barbados,along with family members in our homein Christ Church, I huddled around ourradio to learn how to prepare for thepassage of Hurricane Hugo andsubsequently, how to manage thedamage left in its path.On September 11, 2001, I was asophomore Mass Communication majorin Norfolk, Virginia. The popularmorning news broadcast, the TodayShow was how I started my day,everyday, even on the weekends. Andon that day, it was also how I receivedthe news of the 9/11 attacks and formonths to come, each night, morningand breaks during the day, myclassmates and I were glued to TomBrokaw’s coverage of the event and itsconsequent actions.In the afternoon of January 12,2010, I was in my office preparing toend my day, a quick glance at myFacebook page and an updateon a friend’s status informedme of this catastrophicearthquake that struck Haiti.At that moment of my newsgathering evolution, I did notrun to a radio or tried to finda television, I simply looked atmy Twitter page and#Haitiearthquake was a trending topic.July 2011That was the confirmation I needed. Atthat point, my online sources becamereputable and surely trumped the needto hear the news from my favouritebroadcast personalities.Though the web is a driving force ofinformation sharing, moving all yourdisaster management communicationsto cyber space is not too sdvisable.There remains a considerable amountof persons in the region that will alwaysget their disaster managementinformation via radio, television, andthe print media. But utilising themedium by which the region’s growingyouth population receives most of theirinformation, can be a valuable tool toencouraging a more informed andprepared populace over time.So what is social media anyway?Social media can be defined as anyonline or internet based forum thatallows the audience to shareinformation among themselves,becoming content creators. It allows forinteraction between the users of theinformation and its creators. Thisincludes networking sites andcommunication tools such as Facebook,LinkedIn, or Twitter, Foursquare,Wordpress, Blogger, Tumblr andbookmarking sites such as Del.icio.us,Digg, Stumbleupon or Reddit.While previous information sharingtechniques primarily depended on anagency providing information to anaudience, social media now gives thataudience a voice. Businesses aroundthe world have quickly caught on to thisknowledge and are using social mediaopportunities to push products andevents, significantly decrease marketingbudgets and build brands driven by theviews and input of growing onlineparticipants. In current times we haveseen social media used successfully inchallenging the balance of politicalpower.Recently, disaster managementprofessionals have developedprogrammes built on mitigation ratherthan recovery. A central part ofmitigation efforts include sound publicDisaster Digest 57


elations. Too often we consider publicrelations as a chance to clean up amessy situation, but all disastermanagement agencies should use publicrelations as a reputation builder fortheir organisations; becoming theirresidents primary source of news ondisaster related issues. The use of socialmedia allows you to monitor the workof your agency, get instant feedbackfrom your audience and providesinformation to help adjust those plansor even receive confirmation of yoursuccess.Social media is a public relationstool and an opportunity to create acommunity surrounding your agency’scause, which essentially changesbehaviour and possibly save lives. Thiscan be done simply with 140 characterson Twitter or Facebook directing youraudience to your agency’s centralwebsite to learn more about hurricanes,earthquakes and what an averageperson can do to protect themselvesand their property during these threats.Consistent updates and engagementleads to positive behavioural change.Your disaster management officeweekly tweet, status update or link tonew information on threats educatesyour audience and gets us all in thehabit of thinking about disastermitigation during our daily routines.Social media isinstant. Before apending storm,during a hurricane and after the passingof an event, social media can be used tobroadcast warnings and updates andcollect information from yourcommunity. Here is an interestingaccount that reinforced the need fordisaster management agencies in theUnited States to begin using those 140characters on Twitter. On March 30,2009 a magnitude 4.3 earthquakestruck northern California. In Twitter’sSan Francisco office, engineers noticedthe word earthquake had become atrending topic, a few seconds later, thequake rocked their office. Persons sentthe tweets 60 miles south of SanFrancisco in Morgan Hill, where thequake originated.Much of the coverage of theimmediate effects of the Haitiearthquake and the March 11 Japanearthquake came from individualscapturing the event on their smartphones and sharing that informationwith the world. This was also a sourcefor related disaster managementagencies in their search and recoveryefforts.There is also one more thing thatshould make social media attractive tothe remaining non-believers - itsignificantly cuts your marketing andpublic relations budgets. The utilisationof social media presents an opportunityto encourage education of the region’srisks and engage the region’s residentsin constructive information sharing ofthese risks. Previously, this would havebeen a difficult and expensivepossibility.You will of course still need todevelop public serviceannouncements, brochures, flyersand informative videos, butdisseminating thatinformation becomes much moreaffordable. The same flyer andbrochure that will be printed can easilybe posted online, your PSA andinformational video, uploaded toYouTube and announced with a tweetdirecting your audience to your freeYouTube channel or the website youhave already developed. Social mediasimply allows users the opportunity toexpand their audience share.If celebrities, fortune 500companies, and world governmentshave recognised social media is a bestpractice opportunity to build a brand,secure an audience and drive thosepersons to the information they want toshare, why not do the same in disastermanagement? Social media is no longerjust about tweeting what you had forbreakfast, updating your Facebookstatus about weekend adventures orblogging about your hobby, it providesan opportunity for business andagencies to communicate toincreasingly tech savvy audiences. Apart of our personal disastermanagement plans these days includeensuring our phones and other internetportals are charged during times ofdisasters to continue the informationgeneration and sharing. Accessibilityand connectivity to the internet issimply apart of the age we presently livein. How will your national disastermanagement plans and programmesemerge in this new world?Sachkia Barnes is a public relations manager inthe Virgin Islands. Read her blog, Life in the PRLane at www.sachkiabarnes.com or follow heron Twitter: @SachkiaBarnes.


Understanding the CCRIF Mechanismand PoliciesBy Ekhosuehi Iyahen and Simon YoungCaribbean Risk Managers Ltd., Facility Supervisor, Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance FacilitySetting the ContextDuring the past several decadesthere has been a major increase in thecosts of natural disasters across theglobe. This is reflected in the huge jumpfrom $53.6 billion in losses in the1950’s to $620.6 billion between 2000and 2008 . This global upward trend inlosses is of course no different from theexperiences of the Caribbean regionwhich has also seen a similar pattern inlosses from disasters.For Caribbean countries thepeculiarities associated with theimpacts of natural hazards areparticularly pronounced given theirsmall physical and economic size.Comparatively, Hurricane Katrina,which is oftentimes used as abenchmark for significant catastropheevents, accounted for less than 1% ofloss to GDP to the United Stateseconomy. On the other hand hurricaneIvan which occurred in 2004 resulted inover 200% of loss to GDP for theCayman Islands and Grenada. Itbecomes clear that beyond theimmediate and tragic loss of life,catastrophe events can also unleash aset of circumstances which can hinder agovernment’s ability to effectivelyfinance its immediate recovery andlonger-term redevelopment processes.This impact has a further reverberatingeffect on the wider economy of thecountry whilst also exacerbating thepoverty impacts on survivors.Given the complex nature of naturaldisasters, analysing their full impacts onCaribbean countries is an expansive andparticularly intensive task. Rather thanfocus on such a broad undertaking, thispaper will simply seek to provide someinsight into an innovative mechanismdeveloped and employed by a numberof Caribbean countries to address asmall component of their financial riskas a result of their exposures to naturalhazards.Specifically the paper will seek toshare some insight into what is knownas the Caribbean Catastrophe RiskInsurance Facility (CCRIF) and howmany Caribbean governments haveemployed the use of parametricinsurance to proactively address partof the liquidity gap which is oftenexperienced after a catastrophe. Thisis of course an important step on thepart of these countries incomprehensively addressing theirdisaster risk exposures as itrepresents a significant shift inparadigm from the usual status quoof an ex-post approach to managingnatural catastrophe risks.Given the novelty of parametricinsurance, particular attention willbe paid to providing greater clarity tothe technicalities, methodologies andmodalities which are used tounderpin the operations of CCRIF.This will include a detailedexplanation of the underlying modelsused to support the instrument, areview of the parametric nature of thetriggers used and the parameters of thepolicies which countries purchase, andthe methodology used to determinepayouts in affected CCRIF membercountries. The niche role of the CCRIFwithin a wider disaster riskmanagement framework will also beexamined.Liquidity Needs after a Disaster: TheGrenada ExperienceGovernments are often challengedwith the significant task of financingrecovery efforts after a disaster. Whilstdealing with the fiscal demands toundertake relief operations such asensuring the availability of emergencyassistance, sourcing funding for shelter,food and medical attention fordisplaced persons, governments alsohave to contend with theThis article is based largely onvarious documents producedand disseminated during thepreparation phase of CCRIFand over the past five yearssince the facility has been inoperation. These haveincluded several PolicyResearch working papersproduced by the World BankLatin American and CaribbeanRegion Finance and PrivateSector Development Unit in theSustainable DevelopmentNetwork as well as numerousreviews conducted on theoperations of the facility.


simultaneous challenges of mobilisingenough resources to undertake themedium- to long-term recovery andreconstruction process. This can includetasks that range from the clearance ofdebris to the restoration of criticalservices such as access to water andelectricity for surviving populations tothe reconstruction and rehabilitation ofkey public infrastructure. Theseexpectations are themselvesprecariously balanced with the need forgovernments to subsidise thereconstruction of private assets such ashomes for low-income families whowould have been displaced as a result ofa given catastrophe and all of whichmust be accomplished within a scenarioof a dramatic decline in revenue.In the case of Tropical Cyclone Ivanand its impacts on Grenada, thegovernment was faced with a situationin which the limited accrued reserveswere quickly overwhelmed andsignificant difficulties weresubsequently encountered in financingthe public service bill, including salariesand the continuation of key services.This was coupled with a dramaticreduction in government revenues dueto losses to the major incomegenerating sectors and resulted in thesubsequent inability of the country toservice its debt obligations. As a resultthe government of Grenada imposed aset of strict measures to generateincome to stimulate the recoveryprocess and the wider economy. Someof these measures included (i) anincrease of about 45% in the retail priceof fuel, (ii) an increase in excise taxes onalcohol and tobacco, (iii) a special levyon incomes over US$375 per month fora five year period, and (iv) greaterinvestment in improved taxadministration.According to reports from theWorld Bank, despite all of these efforts,Grenada’s fiscal situation continued tobe challenging as the country still faceda fiscal financing gap of 4.5% of GDP for2005 with the total debt increasing to150% of GDP. Furthermore, instead offocusing on recovery andreconstruction, the Government wasdistracted by the need to finance theemerging resource gap and thistherefore led to a delay in the recoveryand reconstruction process.The experiences borne out inGrenada demonstrated once again thechallenges which can be encounteredCCRIF itself was created out of theduring the difficult post-disasterrecognition that natural catastrophesperiods, as addressing the liquidity gapimpose a significant burden on thehas not always been earmarked for thefinancial ability of the state to functionmost proactive and deliberate actionafter a disaster due to an unavailabilityplan by governments. Traditionallyof liquidity. The facility was launched inaddressing this absence of liquidity has2007 and structured as an insuranceinvolved a heavy reliance oninstrument to provide coverage similarinternational donor assistance after anto business interruption insurance inevent. Despite this there has been athe event of losses from tropicalgrowing recognition in recent timescyclones or earthquakes. Similar to athat although donor assistance is a keymutual insurance company, CCRIF ispart of the wider recovery andcontrolled by the participating states,redevelopment process, these fundsall of whom pay a premium directlyoften take a significant period of time torelated to their individual risk exposurebecome available and are more oftenand purchase coverage up to a limit ofthan not are targeted at specificUS$100 million for each insured hazardprojects.(tropicalcyclones andearthquakes)within a givenyear. Bypooling theirrisks into asinglediversifiedportfolio,insurancecosts aresignificantlylowered withpricingreduced byFigure 1. Liquidity Gap - Source: World Bank (2008)half of what itwouldThe need to employ a variety of ex-traditionally cost if countries were toante and ex-post risk financingpurchase coverage individually (seeinstruments to address these financialFigure 2).exposures has emerged as astrategy which governmentscan seek to employ inaddressing this issue. Thisstrategy can include a range ofmechanisms from theconsistent accumulation offinancial reserves to theutilisation of contingent debtagreements to an applicationof insurance and alternativerisk transfer solutions.Likewise the utilisation of taxincreases as was employed inthe case of Grenada, orFigure 2. Insurance Costs - Source: World Bank (2010)reallocating funds from otherbudget items or putting in placeExplaining the CCRIF Parametricmeasures to access domestic andInstrumentinternational credit and borrowingApart from the benefits attainedfrom multilateral finance institutionsthrough pooling risks, a key feature ofafter a catastrophe occurs are allthe CCRIF instrument is the fact that themeasure which can be exercised ininsurance contract issued by the facilityaddressing this fiscal gap.is “parametric” in nature. A parametric60 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


instrument disburses funds based onthe occurrence of a pre-defined level ofhazard, without having to wait for anon-site loss assessment. This feature isquite different from a traditionalindemnity-based insurance product inwhich claims are paid based on formalconfirmation of a loss through on-siteverification. For the CCRIF instrument,the payouts which countries receive aremade on the basis of pre-establishedtrigger event losses which in turn arederived from a model in which hazardinputs are measured in terms of windspeed and storm surge in the case ofTropical Cyclones or ground shaking forearthquakes.The selection of a parametricinstrument as a basis for the CCRIFpolicies was largely driven by the factthat parametric insurance is generallyless expensive than an equivalenttraditional insurance indemnityproduct, as it does not require a lossassessment procedure in case of adisaster. Parametric insurance alsoprovides for claims to be settled quickly.This is an important feature consideringthe urgent need for liquidity after acatastrophe. In addition to this, the factthat the instrument is also less exposedto moral hazard and adverse selectionproblems (which are costly to monitor)because the cost of insurance can beimmediately related to the probabilityof an event, and the payout isindependent of any mitigation put inplace after the policy is issued was alsoa positive feature given its utilisation bya multiplicity of member countries.Despite these benefits, parametricproducts are exposed to basis risk, i.e.,the possibility that claims payment maynot perfectly match the individuallosses. Although this is a significantchallenge in terms of the developmentof the instrument, careful design ofindex insurance parameters can be usedto help reduce the basis risk associatedwith the tool. Furthermore, as largeinstitutions, governments are able tobetter accommodate basis risk than,say, individuals.Developing the underlyingCatastrophe ModelIn undertaking the development ofthe CCRIF parametric insurancecoverage, significant investment wentinto developing the underlyingcatastrophe model. Catastrophe modelsare essential tools in assessing the riskassociated with catastrophe events. Forthe most part they are based on robustdatasets containing (i) a hazard module,(ii) an exposure module, (iii) avulnerability module, (iv) a damagemodule and (v) a loss module (Seefigure 3). The CCRIF model is nodifferent, with the modules alldeveloped within the context of theparticular hazards of relevance to theclient countries, these being tropicalcyclones and earthquakes. This processwas a significant undertaking in termsof the collection of data and requires acontinuous investment in updating andpopulating the model with newinformation. The development of theCCRIF catastrophe model is animportant contribution to national andregional risk management institutionsthrough its collection of a significant setof detailed databases on nationalcatastrophe risk exposures in itsmember states. This is importantspecifically because prior to thisinitiative most member countries hadfor the most part never undertaken anymajor effort to collate this informationwhich would be critical inunderstanding the catastrophe risksfaced at a national and regional level.In terms of the actual catastrophemodel, the hazard module which formspart of the catastrophe model definesthe frequency and severity of a peril, ata specific location.This was/is doneby analysing thehistoricalfrequencies andreviewingscientific studieson the severitiesand frequencies inthe region ofinterest. Once thehazard parametersfor each peril areestablished,simulatedstochastic eventsets are generatedwhich define the frequency and severityof thousands of simulated cyclone orearthquake events. This module cananalyse the intensity at a location oncean event in the simulated set hasoccurred. This module models theattenuation/degradation of the eventfrom its location to the site underconsideration and evaluates thepropensity of local site conditions toeither amplify or reduce the impact.In developing the exposure module,the exposure values of “assets at risk”are estimated either from availablesecondary data sources or are derivedfrom the distribution of population.This “proxy” approach is used when thepreferred specific site by site data is notavailable. Based on these data, themodule then computes the value for alltypes of exposures as a product ofmultiplication of the area of totalbuilding inventory and the averagereplacement cost per unit of inventory.In terms of the vulnerabilitymodule, the starting point was toquantify the damage caused to eachasset class by the intensity of a givenevent at a site. The development ofasset classification was based on acombination of construction material,construction type (say, wall and roofcombination), building usage, numberof stories and age. Estimation ofdamage was measured in terms of amean damage ratio (MDR). The MDR isdefined as the ratio of the repair costdivided by replacement cost of thestructure. The curves that relate theMDR to the disaster (earthquake orhurricane) intensity is called avulnerability function. Each asset classand building type will have differentvulnerability curves for each peril.Figure 3: Catastrophe Risk Modeling Process - Source: World Bank (2010)To calculate the losses, the damageratio derived in the vulnerabilitymodule is translated into dollar loss bymultiplying the damage ratio by thevalue at risk. This is done for each assetclass at each location. Losses are thenaggregated as required. Governmentassets or assets that are likely to befinanced with government resourcesJuly 2011Disaster Digest 61


can be easily isolated and anassessment of financial needs forreconstruction calculated, therebydefining the damage module. Based onthe likely timing for reconstruction,these costs can be ventilated betweenshort, medium and long term financialneeds.The loss module developed as partof the catastrophe model focused onestimating the losses from the damagedistribution. When dealing withgovernment losses, the moduleestimates relief and recovery costs, aswell as tax revenue losses.In terms of the actual CCRIF coveragewhich countries purchase, this iscapped at 50% of total estimatedgovernment losses. The reasons for thisfigure was based on the estimation thatsuch an amount would be sufficient tocover the immediate emergencyliquidity needs which governmentsmight require as greater resources aremobilised to assist the longer termrecovery and redevelopment efforts.Selection of contract Attachment andExhaustion PointRegarding the actual CCRIF policiesand coverage selection, all countries arerequired to make three key decisionsregarding their coverage selection.These are:The selection of an attachment point.This parameter can essentially bedescribed as the severity of the eventwhich gives rise to a payment andtherefore is the loss value at which thecontract is triggered and functions like adeductible in a standard insurancepolicy. Payouts are made on the policywhen the modelled loss for an event in amember country equals or exceeds theattachment point specified in thecontract. The policy holder, in thisinstance the specific country, covers alllosses below the attachment point.The attachment point appliesequally to all storms. There is noaccumulation of attachments(deductible) from storms for which themodelled loss was less than theattachment point. As the modelled lossincreases above the attachment point,the corresponding payout increases upto the exhaustion point (see below). Thecurrent policies issued by CCRIF have aminimum attachment point equivalentto a 1 in 15-year loss for tropicalcyclone and 1 in 20-year loss forearthquake. This is the loss amountwhich is likely to be exceeded only oncein fifteen (twenty) years.The selection of an exhaustion point.This refers to the severity of the eventat or above which the maximumpayment is triggered. For the 2009-2010 policy year CCRIF membercountries selected exhaustion pointsbetween 1 in 75 and 1 in 200 years.Selection of the coverage limit. Thepolicy/coverage limit is the differencebetween the attachment and exhaustionpoints (exhaustion-attachment)multiplied by the ceding percentage(the amount of risk between theattachment and exhaustion points thatthe country is transferring to CCRIF.)The coverage limit is the maximumamount that can be paid out under thecontract in any one year for any oneperil. Payouts for events that haveindexed modelled loss that exceeds theexhaustion point are paid out at thecoverage limit.The policy limit applies to the fullterm (one year) of the contract; thetotal amount paid out under thecontract during the one-year period willnot exceed the policy limit, whetherthat policy limit is due to payout fromone large event or multiple smallerevents that each trigger paymentsunder the contract. Since CCRIF isdesigned to address the liquidityproblems caused by impacts fromcatastrophic hazard events, it isexpected that attachment points forcountry contracts will be selected suchthat payouts are triggered only by lowfrequency,high impact events (forexample 1-in-50-year events) ratherthan recurrent events.The coverage limit which isselected will depend on the capacity ofthe country to absorb losses and alsowhat premium it wishes to pay. In thecase of tropical cyclones a payout woulddepend on the cyclone’s wind speed andpath relative to the country and on theattachment and exhaustion points andcoverage limit that the country hasselected. The payout increases as themodelled loss increases, due to higherwind intensity or a closer track (orboth) for the storm.When developing a parametriccontract with CCRIF, a member countrywill identify a level of financial impacton the government treasury, beyondwhich it would want to receive animmediate cash injection; this value isan appropriate starting point foridentifying an attachment point for thecontract. Once an attachment point hasbeen selected, the exhaustion point canbe based on the cost of the contract andthe maximum amount that the countryis interested in paying for the CCRIFcatastrophic coverage. The frequencywith which the hazard exceeds theattachment point (as identified by themember country-specific hazard curve)and the range between attachment andexhaustion point (that is, the policylimit) are the determinants of thepremium cost to a member country.Based on a risk curve derived for aspecific member country, it is possibleto identify the modelled loss thatcorresponds to a specific payoutamount. These choices which are madeby the countries in terms of selectingtheir attachment and exhaustion pointsas well as coverage limits are critical indetermining the coverage whichcountries purchase. It is therefore aprocess which should involve personnelfrom at least the Ministry of Finance,the disaster management office and anyplanning/sustainable developmentunits but may also involve a number ofother actors.ConclusionIn conclusion it is important to notethat CCRIF is not meant to be disasterinsurance but rather catastropheinsurance and hence is most suitableonly for those events which overwhelmthe capacity of the state to respondeffectively, primarily high intensity, lowfrequency events. Similarly theinstrument is not meant to cover theentire risk profile of countries as aresult of a catastrophe but instead ismeant to ensure that there is somemeasure of liquidity available togovernments as resources are mobilisedto assist with the longer term recoveryand redevelopment processes. Utilisinga single financial tool to address theentire financial risk profiles of countriesexposed to natural catastrophes isinefficient and impractical and henceinsurance instruments such as CCRIFare best placed within a comprehensivefinancial strategy for covering a varietyof event probabilities and types and inwhich an array of instruments areemployed.62 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Building in an Earthquake Prone AreaThe Caribbean®By Marissa Da Breo, BSc, MAS, LEED APIf you ask anyone in the Caribbeanto point out the worst natural disasterthat the region has ever experienced,they would likely recall the 2010Haitian earthquake of just over a yearago. The 7.0 magnitude quake was thestrongest that the region has felt forseveral decades. The epicenter of theearthquake occurred on land at ashallow depth and was located not farto the south of Port-au- Prince, Haiti’scapital. Within minutes of the quake,images of destruction hit the airwavesand the internet and much of the worldlooked on in horror and disbelief as ahorrific scene unfolded.Haiti, like much of the Caribbean,sits on the Caribbean Plate. The plateextends east-west from the EasternCaribbean, beneath the Caribbean Seathrough Central America to the PacificOcean. A line ofvolcanoes is locatedadjacent to theeastern and westernboundaries of theplate and indicate asubduction zone.Convergent anddivergent boundariesmark the northernand southernboundaries of theplate. The northernplate boundary runsnorth of Puerto Rico,through northernHispaniola andbetween Cuba and Jamaica. Accordingto Wikipedia (2010) in the early 1990’sthe existence of the Gonâve Microplate,on which much of Hispaniola rests, wasproposed and later confirmed with theuse of Global Positioning System (GPS)and sonar technology. Figure 1illustrates the Gonave Microplate and itsboundaries. The microplate boundariesare defined by the Oriente andSeptentrional Fault Zones to the northand the Enriquillo-Plantain Garden andthe Walton Fault Zones to the south.The Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Faultruns through southern Hispaniola,passing very close to the south of Portau-Princeand then angles throughJamaica to the west. It is believed that arupture along this fault or one related toit caused the massive quake.More than 200,000 people mayFigure 1 - Gonave Microplatehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gon%C3%A2ve_microplate.pnghave perished in the destruction thatresulted from the quake and millionswere left homeless as most of thestructures in and around the capitalwere damaged, including residential,commercial, church, historical andgovernment buildings. To this day,millions of people are living in less thanideal conditions in tent cities and otherforms of temporary housing. The recentoutbreak of Cholera in Haiti iscompounding a very difficult situation.The fault has ruptured in the past.Many West Indians might recall storiesof the disappearance of Port Royal intothe Caribbean Sea during a largeearthquake. Wikipedia (2011) points tothe 1692 earthquake in Jamaica thatheavily damaged Port Royal, anearthquake along the southern coast ofHispaniola in 1751, a 1770 event thatstruck Port-au-Prince and the 1902earthquake that devastated Kingston,Jamaica. Other earthquakes whichoccurred in 1860, 1761, 1684, 1673,and 1618 are believed to the linked tothe Enriquillo-Plantain Garden Fault.Although these events occurred beforethe Richter Scale was developed, thedamage reported in historical accountswas described as severe.The Eastern Caribbean has alsohad its fair share of major earthquakesover the past centuries. The SeismicResearch Centre of the University of theWest Indies (UWI) and the CaribbeanDisaster Emergency ManagementAgency (CDEMA), the umbrella disasterJuly 2011Disaster Digest 63


management body in the region, pointto historic quakes in the EasternCaribbean. Several of the tremorsoccurred before the Richter Scale wasdeveloped and magnitudes wereestimated from the accounts of damageand where the quake was felt. TheSeismic Research Centre (n.p.) andCDEMA (2010) both identify a tremorthat occurred close to Antigua thatcaused extensive damage in Antiguaand surrounding islands. The tremorwas also felt as far away as North andSouth America. The magnitude of thequake was estimated to be between 8.0and 8.5. The Seismic Research Centrelists an event in 1766 that causedextensive damage as far south asTrinidad. Other major events occurredin various locations in the EasternCaribbean in 1839 and 1843 andbetween 1900 and presently. CDEMA(2010) describes a large earthquakethat was recorded in 1974 and series ofquakes that occurred in 1997 in theSouthern Caribbean.During the past recent years, thesouthern, Eastern Caribbean has beenexperiencing a series of earthquakes.The latest quake, measuring 5.2 on theRichter Scale, occurred on February 4th.A few days prior a quake of the samemagnitude occurred in the northern,Eastern Caribbean. Information aboutthe quake can be obtained herehttp://neic.usgs.gov/neis/bulletin/neic_gya5.html . An article in the JamaicaGleaner (2010) relates that the ActingDirector of the Seismic Research Centreof the University of the West Indies,based in Trinidad and Tobago, warnsthat the Eastern Caribbean has not hada large earthquake in a very long andthat the area is due for a big event. Thearticle was in response to anearthquake with a 5.1 magnitude thatoccurred between Trinidad and Tobagoin December. She noted that since 2006a series of earthquakes have beenoccurring in the area. She also notedthat a magnitude 8 earthquake isexpected in the region approximatelyevery 100 years. She stressed the factthat the region should take earthquakepreparedness very seriously. TheSeismic Research Centre points to“growing populations and large-scalepoorly planned or unauthorizedconstruction” (n.p.) that may result inmore devastation should the regionexperience a large earthquake.Why was the Haitian earthquake sodevastating? Besides the fact that itoccurred close to the surface andresulted in immense shaking, Haiti isthe poorest nation in the westernhemisphere, has poor infrastructureand social services and is ill-equippedto handle natural disasters. The pooreconomic situation of the country andits citizens has lead to structures thatare poorly constructed. According to anarticle in Scientific American (2010), aprofessor of Geoscience indicated hisconcern for a large earthquake in Haitionly a few days before the earthquakeoccurred because of poorinfrastructure, the lack of services, poorbuilding practices and a lack ofearthquake preparedness. The articlenoted that stress in the fault has beenbuilding for many decades andseismologists had warned of a largequake along the fault. According toWikipedia (2010), a report from May2010 suggests that the quake may nothave relieved the stress that wasbuilding in the fault as much as waspreviously thought.Generally, earthquakes do not kill,but falling and crumbling buildings andinfrastructure do. According to CNN(2010, np) Haiti “has no building codes”and shoddy construction practices hasresulted in structures that cannotwithstand minimal tremors. As a resultof the poverty that is prevalent in thecountry, people construct whereverthey can the cheapest way they can andthis results in structures that are notproperly reinforced. The article notesthat “[s]tructures were built on slopeswithout proper foundations orcontainment structures, using improperbuilding practices, insufficient steel andinsufficient attention to developmentcontrol” and that the “earthquakeshowed that even those buildings thatshould have been constructed to thehighest standards -- hospitals, schools,the presidential palace – collapsed”(n.p.). The Organization of AmericanStates (OAS) recognized the problemand has been working since 2005 todevelop a uniform building code forHaiti and the rest of the Caribbean.According to the OAS (2008), after theflooding in 2004 that impactedapproximately 300,000 and killedseveral thousand, the World Bank begana disaster management project toaddress disaster management issuesfacing the country. The World Bankidentified “absence of land use zoningand building guidelines, andcomprehensive enforcementmechanisms” among others as majorfactors affecting preparedness andresilience.Figure 2 - Illustration of and otherEarthquake engineering techniqueshttp://www.civilengineergroup.com/earthquake.htmlUnlike with hurricanes and othernatural phenomena that can createdisaster conditions, there is no way toprepare for an earthquake other than toensure that buildings are constructedwith earthquakes in mind. In order toprotect the lives of people in earthquakezones, structures need to be made assafe as possible, including residentialstructures. Most important and widelypracticed, is structural reinforcement.Reinforcement generally involves theuse of steel rods in concrete andmasonry walls and foundations. Thesteel rods strengthen the walls andallow them to be somewhat flexible.Earthquake engineering is a constantlychanging field and there are elaborateand expensive methods and systemsavailable that can reduce the stresses ona structure but these are usually used inhigh-rise building or other structures ofsignificance. Figure 2 illustrates someof the best practices employed instructures to improve resistance totremors in mid to high rise buildingsincluding base isolators, cross-bracingand shear walls. Several cities that arelocated in seismic zones haveundertaken expensive engineeringprojects to protect their older,64 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


vulnerable structures by reinforcingpreviously un-reinforced walls and byretrofitting them with devices thatisolate the building from thetremendous shaking forces generatedby an earthquake. San Francisco is onesuch city where the older capitolbuilding underwent major upgrades toprepare for the big one. New buildingsare expected to be highly reinforced asper building codes.The use of isolators and advancedearthquake engineering techniquesshould be applied in the Caribbeangiven the regions vulnerability toearthquakes. Tall buildings, schools,health care facilities and governmentand other public buildings should all beproperly engineered and reinforced toensure some level of safety andpreparedness. This will ensure thecontinuity of government and theavailability of essential services in theevent of a large and destructive tremor.Civil Engineer Group (2011)recommends, in addition to thetechniques illustrated above, boltingbuildings to their foundations, usingflexible gas and water lines andsecuring heavy equipment andfurniture to floors and walls. CDEMA(2010) recommends compliance withbuilding codes, ensuring thatfoundations, walls, floors and roofs aretied together, making columns strongerthan beams, attaching furniture andheavy appliances, that could be harmfulif they topple over, to walls and floors,carefully selecting abuilding site andreferring to the CDERACode of Practice for theConstruction of Houses:An Instruction Manualfor Foremen andExperienced Artisans.While no effort shouldbe spared when buildingin an earthquake pronearea, there are simpleadaptations of moreexpensive techniquesthat could be applied inthe Caribbean region.Properly reinforcedresidential structuresare out of the reach ofmany people in theCaribbean. There areseveral earthquakeproneregions in theworld where earthquake engineeringtechniques are being adapted andapplied using locally available andaffordable material. In an article in theNational Geographic Magazine (2010),several strong earthquakes arecompared in terms of strength, locationand fatalities. Figure 3 presents anearthquake analysis and illustratesregional earthquake-resistant buildingmethods that are affordable andadaptable. The Haitian earthquake wasthe weakest of the earthquakes at 7.0magnitude and yet it resulted in thesecond highest fatalities. Only themega-quake in Indonesia in 2005resulted in more fatalities and this wasdue, in large part, to the tsunami whichradiated from the epicenter andaffected several countries around thePacific Ocean. The Chilean earthquakewhich occurred a few weeks after theHaitian quake, and was not included inthe analysis, resulted in fewer than1,000 fatalities even though it wasseveral hundred times more powerful.Location and population densitydefinitely made a difference in thecasualties but, in Haiti’s case, the deathtoll is also a reflection of the destructioncaused by collapsing structures and thelack of proper building techniques. Thearticle points to residential constructionmethods that are being used in variousearthquake-prone areas of the worldthat are saving lives and providingshelter. In Peru, where adobe is apopular building practice, severalFigure 3 - Alternative Earthquake-Building Techniqueshttp://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/big-idea/10/earthquakesJuly 2011thousands died in an earthquakebecause the adobe walls and then roofscollapsed during a tremor. Analternative building method wasdeveloped whereby a strong, plasticmesh was added beneath the plaster tohelp keep the walls intact. Bamboo wassuccessfully used as reinforcement inconcrete structures in India; tires filledwith sand serve as shock absorbers inIndonesia and straw, widely available inPakistan, is used in walls as a substitutefor the popular stone and mud wallswhich are very prone to crumblingduring quakes. These methods couldeasily be adapted to the Caribbeanregion. The article also illustrates howthe building techniques are applied andspecific recommendations were madefor Haiti which includes smaller andfewer openings in walls, which tend toweaken the walls. Lighter wood framedroofs with galvanize and similarmaterials are recommended forresidential structures as lighterbuildings fare better in earthquakes.Tying walls, columns and beamstogether also improves resistance.These recommendations apply to theentire Caribbean region. Because theCaribbean region is prone to hurricanes,wooden structures should be built towithstand tropical storms andhurricanes. Roofs made of galvanizeand wood and not of concrete, as isprevalent in Haiti, are moreappropriate. Non-residential structuresneed to be built to the highest standardsDisaster Digest 65


keeping in mind all of the potentialhazards that the region can face.The entire Caribbean region issusceptible to earthquakes, hurricanesand other natural disasters and buildingto withstand earthquakes is also built towithstand hurricanes, so this presents awin-win situation. The Haitianearthquake of 2010 was not the largestearthquake that the Caribbean hasexperienced but it was the mostdevastating and costly. It served as areminder of the geologic and tectonicnature of the region. Unfortunately,there is no early warning system forearthquakes, so the only way to prepareis to ensure that buildings andinfrastructure are built to highstandards and that best practices areapplied. Simple and affordabletechniques, discussed above, can beapplied to residential structures.The region has received yetanother wakeup call even as the tremorin New Zealand is still fresh in people’sminds. The damage caused by themassive earthquake and the resultingtsunami in Japan are still emerging andwill be for days to come. The tsunamicaused damage many miles away fromthe epicenter, across the Pacific Ocean.Japan is the most prepared nation in theworld when it comes to disasters. Thenation has volcanoes, sits on the Ring ofFire and is in the path of cyclones. Theyhave an advanced warning system and asuperior building code. Video of thequake showed high rise buildingsvisibly swaying. The highly engineeredbuildings are equipped with adampening system located in the topthat sways opposite of the sway of thebuilding. With such tremendous strongshaking forces generated by theearthquake, buildings elsewhere bothlower and smaller, would havecrumbled. The death toll of the disasterwill likely not be as high as one wouldexpect with this magnitude of disaster,but the cost is going to be beyondanything that nation has faced before.Had this earthquake occurred along theeastern boundary of the CaribbeanPlate what kind of images would theworld be looking at now? Would thebuildings have survived? What aboutthe infrastructure located adjacent tothe coastlines? What systems are inplace to warn people of impendingdanger and what evacuations plans arein place for disasters of this magnitude?These are questions to ponder.ReferencesCaribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. 2010. Earthquake Readiness; When planning to build.http://weready.org/earthquake/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=15&Itemid=52Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. 2010. The History of Earthquakes in the Caribbean.http://weready.org/earthquake/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=20&Itemid=69Civil Engineer Group, 2011. “Earthquake.” Accessed February 3, 2011. http://www.civilengineergroup.com/earthquake.htmlKatherine Harmon. 2010. “Haiti Earthquake Disaster Little Surprise to Some Seismologists.” Scientific American. January 13. AccessedJanuary 28, 2011. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=haiti-earthquake-predictionNational Geographic Magazine. 2010. The Big Idea-safe houses. Accessed February 3, 2011. http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/bigidea/10/earthquakesOrganization of American States. Haiti Building Standards Development Project. Last modified September 29, 2010.http://www.oas.org/dsd/Nat-Dis-Proj/HBSD/Background.htmThe Jamaica Gleaner. 2010. “Seismologist predicting major earthquake forthe Caribbean.” Accessed February 3, 2011. http://jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20101229/lead/lead9.htmlTom Watkins. 2010. Problems with Haiti building standards outlined. CNN. January 13.http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/americas/01/13/haiti.construction/index.html?iref=allsearchUniversity of the West Indies. 2009. “Earthquakes: Eastern Caribbean Earthquakes.” Accessed February 3, 2011.http://www.uwiseismic.com/General.aspx?id=16Wikipedia. 2011. “2010 Haiti earthquake.” Last modified March 12. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2010_Haiti_earthquakeWikipedia. 2011. “Enriquillo–Plantain Garden fault zone.” Last modified January 1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enriquillo-Plantain_Garden_fault_zoneWikipedia. 2010. “Gonâve Microplate.” Last modified December 21. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gon%C3%A2ve_Microplate66 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


HVAIntegrating the Hazard Vulnerability AssessmentProcess into Development PlanningBy Cynthia RolliDue to the geographic location andtopography of the Virgin Islands, manydevelopments are proposed invulnerable areas or located in such away that could cause another area tobecome vulnerable. Every person in theTerritory can be impacted by aproposed development in some way,shape or form, whether it is aneconomic, social, or physical impactalso. Natural hazards remain a highpriority in planning for the sustainabledevelopment of the Virgin Islands.When asked about what type ofchallenges that he has faced within thedevelopment process in the VirginIslands, Architect, Managing Director ofSTO Enterprises, and President of theContractors Association, Mr. Dion Stouttreplied, “Most local architects have beeneducated in the United States, includingmyself. However, in many architecturalschools, they do not addressdevelopment on steep terrain such asare found here in the Virgin Islands.consequently, our local architects arefaced with real life scenarios; there is aghut running through the land or theroad is coming down on a 30 degreeslope; therefore, you have to adjust thedesign to coincide with theenvironment.“Mr. Stoutt went on to comment thatpersons do not realize that a design onpaper is only a 2D visual. Therefore, ifthe local terrain and environmentalconditions are not taken intoconsideration while designing astructure, a lot of problems willmanifest during the process. Hestressed that the ‘third dimension is themost important’ in a design and added,“An individual may very well beinvesting their life savings into theirdream home, and then when they areabout to commence construction, theexcavator operator may say,, ‘hmmm,this is a 30 ft cut, but, the sections onthe plans are only showing a 10 footcut.’ Now everything, the wholedynamic of that particular project, haschanged. The homeowner is now facedwith building a wall 30 feet high. Dothey have the capacity for that? Also, dowe want our landscape speckled withretaining walls of this size?”Unfortunately, too many people canrelate to a similar scenario whenrecalling some of their experiences withdevelopment. Many factors determinethe resilience of the built environmentto the effects of natural hazards,including appropriate design andlocation, construction quality andmaintenance. Performance of the builtenvironment, can in turn, determineboth the magnitude of the losses andthe speed of recovery from hazardevents.As a member of the PlanningAuthority and the Director of theDepartment of Disaster Management(DDM), Ms. Sharleen DaBreo knows alltoo well about development challengeswithin the Territory. Ms. DaBreoexplained how these issues are notunique to the Virgin Islands. She said,“Several years ago, many regionalworkshops were designed to addresssimilar issues of development withinvulnerable areas throughout the entireCaribbean Region. The workshopsfocused on the integration of a HazardVulnerability Assessment (HVA) into theEnvironmental Impact Assessment(EIA) Process. While the Virgin Islandswere at an advantageous position toincorporate the HVA process into theEIA process due to existingcomprehensive hazard data for theTerritory from previous projects, therewere opportunities to make basicscientific data available for people touse as a foundation for developmentand to allow for better decision makingfor all development type applications.”Ms. DaBreo further said, “What waslacking for us in the Virgin Islands was asystematic format for using the data.The hazard data that we had availablewas highly scientific. We had to break itdown so that the public, including theJuly 2011technicians, homeowners, architectsand engineer, could use it to suit theirown specific needs. We came up withthe idea of not only integrating it intothe EIA, but to have a mechanism forthe entire development process. ‘Wewanted to apply the theory, the science,and the methods of defining risk andtransfer it to a process that could createsome tangible changes in ourdevelopment practices. We have beensuccessful thus far. We now have an HVAprocess that is used as the basicmethodology for assessing alldevelopment applications. The HVAprovides the justification that is neededfor making decisions by the PlanningAuthority.”These successes would not havecome about without the commitmentand by-in on the part of all the playersinvolved in the development planningprocess, both in Government and thePrivate Sector.Currently, developmentapplications submitted to the Town andCountry Planning Department (TCPD)are being reviewed and subjected to aHVA if the location or developmentappears to be at risk to impact fromnatural hazards. The DDM issupporting the Town and CountryPlanning Department in this effort. Thisis certainly an indication of the level ofintegration of disaster risk reductioninto the planning and developmentsector.What Exactly is an HVA?A Hazard Vulnerability Assessment is areport based around three majorelements:• The susceptibility of an area tospecific hazard or hazards;• The likely strength or intensity ofan event when it occurs (i.e. whatis the potential for damage); and• The likelihood or chance of suchan event occurring.Disaster Digest 67


The HVA Report primarily assessesthe “susceptibility” of an area to anatural hazard. When sufficientinformation is available on the intensityand likelihood of such an eventoccurring, an indication of the level of“risk” is provided.For example, the information thatis currently available for the VirginIslands Territory includes local geologyand topography information and therisks from landslides, earthquakes,wind, waves, and storm surge impacts.Excerpts from a completed HVA havebeen included as images above toprovide examples of how theinformation is collated and formattedfor the homeowners and developmentprofessionals.The HVA Report contains high levelassessments of hazards relating to somenatural or man-made events that mayaffect this property. The report is basedon geological mapping and scientificmodels. Ms. DaBreo emphasized theimportance of accurate data andcollaboration by saying, “The HVAprocess is heavily based on availabilityand accuracy of data, the presence oftechnically competent individualstrained in earth sciences, engineeringand geology and the ability tomanipulate the data. It’s dependant onhaving a very active GIS mechanism inthe country that allows for sharing andupdating of data. “The Report does not replace a siteinvestigation or an engineering report.The purpose of the hazard report is toprovide a better understanding of thehazards that may affect a property.In addition, (and as important asthe hazard data) the DDM includesrecommendations for mitigationmeasures specific to each developmentand each hazard identified within theassessment. The type of mitigationmeasures may include specific cut sloperecommendations for the geologicformation based on the degree anddirection of the slope, geotechnicalassessment in alluvial or reclaimedsoils, drainage plan development,erosion control recommendations, andcoastal mitigation recommendations asrelated to climate change adaptationmeasures.Where does the data comefrom?In 1997, the ForeignCommonwealth Office funded theHazard Risk Assessment Project(HRAP) that was completed for theDDM. This report provided criticalinformation for guiding developmentbased on the potential impacts fromnatural hazards. The data provided inthis was used to develop theQuantitative Risk Assessment Project(QRAP), the first of its kind in theregion. Phase I and II of the QRAP werecompleted in 2006, and the hazard datais available in electronic format for allgovernment agencies and workingprofessionals to use in development andemergency planning, a resource that isoften infrequently utilized in somesectors.68 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Inter Agency Input andCollaborationThe Virgin Islands has been fortunateto receive the external funding andtechnical assistance needed toinvestigate, analyse and interpret thescientific data for natural hazard risksand probability. The key to successcannot be attributed to a single entitywithin the process, for it has been animmense amount of work undertakenby many people within the VirginIslands Government and variousregional and international agenciesand professional consultancies overthe last 15 years. A graphical displayof the milestones reached within theHVA process is shown in Figure 1.According to Ms. DaBreo, one of themost important lessons learnedduring the HVA development processhas been the transfer of knowledge.During one discussion, she said, “Thetransfer of knowledge from theregional to the local experts providesa basis for sustainability and growth.If a regional expert or consultant isconducting work within your countrywithout the involvement of localplayers, there is probability that theymay leave data that you are unable todecipher. Countries must provide themechanism for the transfer ofknowledge in order to build yourlocal capacity. This is the standardthat DDM supports and hassubsequently adapted fordevelopment. When other countriesare considering this process, theymust determine an appropriatemeans for the transfer of knowledge.”Additional activities that have assistedin the successful HVA development inthe Virgin Islands have included:• Integration of project and activitiesinto the National ComprehensiveDisaster Management (CDM)Strategy ;• Consistent participation in nationalcommittees e.g. Planning Authorityand National GIS Committee;• Training of government personnel,planners, engineers & developerson hazard mitigation methods toimprove planning, design anddevelopment methods;• Ongoing coordination andcollaboration between governmentdepartments and agencies;• Raising awareness through publicrelations campaigns includingaudio and video programmes,brochures, handbook, and posters;and• Identification of other data setsneeded to improve the process andthe ability to secure the necessaryfunding.How has the HVA process beenperceived in the developmentplanning sector?Mrs. Marva Titley-Smith, the ChiefPlanner of the Town and CountryPlanning Department, believes theplanning process has benefited from theincorporation of the HVA. She explained,“The Hazard Vulnerability Assessmenthas proven to be a useful aspect of thedevelopment application process forboth reviewers and land owners.Essentially, the HVA is used in thedevelopment application process toprovide information on thesusceptibility of lands to varioushazards, particularly in light of aproposed development. The HVA alsoprovides recommendations specific tothe land in question relative to adevelopment proposal for that site.Armed with the information from anHVA, reviewers are able to offer adviceon how to mitigate against thosehazards.“It provides land owners withadditional information about theirproperties that was not previouslyavailable to them, thereby leading to abetter understanding of the site inquestion. Quite early on in the processyou are able to know what hazards asite is exposed to and this also aids inthe decision making process.“Persons are encouraged to accessthis information especially whenconsidering built development on sitesclose to ghuts, on steep terrain and inenvironmentally sensitive areas.“The introduction of the HVA intothe planning process is a good exampleof how government agencies cancollaborate to increase the informationavailable to the public andsimultaneously enhance the decisionmakingprocess.”Mr. Dion Stoutt is very familiarwith the HVA process. He said, “At first, Ihad many concerns regarding theprocess because I suspected that myprojects were being targeted, whileother applications were receivingapproval. However, as I became morefamiliar with the benefits of the process,I embraced it and encouraged myclients to get on board. It helps thehomeowners, the architects, andeveryone involved to understand thedynamics of building on particular sites.The feedback I have received hasfurther validated my success as anarchitect.”July 2011Disaster Digest 69


Benefits from the HVAMr. Stoutt continued to speak aboutthe benefits of the HVA and explainedhow some of his projects have beenpositively affected by the informationprovided in the HVA report,. “In oneparticular project, the HVA Reportrevealed that the entire parcel of landproposed for development waswithin a watershed area. The clientobviously did not have thisinformation prior to purchasing theproperty, otherwise she might nothave bought the land. Despite itslocation, however, we proceeded toimplement the recommendations inthe HVA Report and we worked withour partners, Jaca Sierra GeotechnicalEngineers from Puerto Rico, to installtest pits to examine the area and todesign ways to alleviate futuredrainage problems. Even before thehouse is built, we already know theissues, and we haverecommendations for mitigating thepotential problems. It’s considerablymore economically feasible for thedeveloper to undertake theseassessment early rather than bear theheavy costs that might be appliedlater on due to poor planning.“We have had other applications fordesigns on very steep slopes. Similarsteps were taken and we were ableto determine how deep thefoundation needed to go, and whatwidth and height the footings neededto be.“Again, the HVA helped not only thedesigners, but the clients tounderstand what has to be in placeand, ultimately, the costs involved inthe construction phase.“The HVA process has created agreater awareness of the naturalhazards that can impact proposeddevelopment. Building professionalswant to maintain a reputation forutilizing thorough researchtechniques to develop designs thatwould safeguard a homeowner’sinvestment. Developers are taking asignificant risk in involving lifesavings or large mortgages. Thus, thebuilding professionals’ responsibilityis to ensure that this risk is notfurther increased as a result of poordesign and construction.”Mr. Steve Augustine, Architect andOwner of SA Architects, alsorecommends the HVA to his clients as ameans to improve their design. “Irecommend to clients that the HazardVulnerability Assessment is somethingyou need to request at the onset of theproject.”Mr. Augustine appreciates theamount of information that is providedin the HVA report, and added,“TheReport is comprehensive in itspresentation and provides a wealth ofinformation in a very concise formatrelating specifically to your project. Itmakes it so much easier to understandthe probable hazards that exist inrelation to the specific property beingdeveloped. What I like about the HVA isthat it not only identifies the issues buttells you how to go about rectifyingthem and the reasons why you wouldwant to do so. I am a stickler forphysically getting into the site to seewhat is there. But let’s be realistic,unless the site is clean and clear, it isvery difficult to see what is there. Onceagain, that’s one of the benefits thatcome from this kind of Report. Youreceive an in depth analysis of themake-up of the site, the soil type,surrounding areas, the adjacent ghuts,etc. The HVA offers recommendationsas to what the cut slopes should bebased on the different geologicalformations. Obviously, this isinformation that helps me to improvemy design. If I know what the preferredcut slopes should be on a site then I canbe more realistic in my designapproach.”HVA Challenges turns into asuccess storyMr. Augustine went on to speakabout some of the challenges he hasexperienced as a result of the HVAprocess, such as resistance from clientsfor various reasons and increasedprojects’ costs and time. He related astory about one of his projects thatseemed challenging but, fortunatelyturned into a successful project in theend.Project Tales“There will always be somesquabbles about the costs. One said,‘Well, my neighbor has a building nextdoor, and I don’t see any of what thisdocument (HVA) is asking me to dobeing taking into consideration by theneighbor. And, if I am going to do it,then why isn’t the neighbor beingasked to do it?’ We went back andforth on that matter for quite sometime. Eventually, I explained to theclient that he had an opportunity toavoid the same problems facing hisneighbor The client’s reply was, ‘I ambeing charged a fee by government, Idon’t want to pay it, I have spentenough money already. My neighborhas a building there; I just want thesame thing.’In the end, he was able to look atthe matter from a much broaderperspective and realized that it wasbetter to mitigate in the beginning,than to be eventually faced withproblems of water entering his homeor portions of his porch beingcompromised. I further explained tohim that it was important to avoidbuilding in landslide prone areas. Hesaid, ‘you know I really don’t wantthose things to happen to my house.Receiving the HVA Report was one ofthe first steps in safeguarding hisinvestment. Government agencies,such as the Town and CountryPlanning Department and the DDMare providing valuable informationand guidance to developers and homeowners to ensure that theirdevelopment will stand the test oftime.How much does an HVA cost?Mr. Stoutt emphatically stated,“Listen, it’s cheap, it’s only 75 dollars.Seventy-five dollars can save youhundreds of thousands of dollars.”Mr. Augustine agreed with Mr.Stoutt’s sentiment by saying, “The feethat is charged for the preparation ofthe HVA Report is minimal if an expertwas to provide this very sameinformation, the cost would beexorbitant.”The current fee that is charged bythe Department for ResidentialDevelopment is $75.00 USD and forCommercial/Large Scale Developments,the fee is $250.00 USD. It typically takesapproximately three weeks to completethe report once the application isreceived and no further information isrequired from the applicant.70 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


How do you get an HVAreport?If you are interested in purchasinga piece of property, sub-dividing yourland, or developing your land you canrequest an HVA at the Department ofDisaster Management (DDM) by fillingout a simple application form. You willneed to have your block and parcelinformation, and any supportingdocuments relevant to the site,including conceptual or completeddesign plans. The DDM is located inMacNamara, Tortola, and can becontacted at 284-468-4200. TheDepartment does conduct site visits toassess site conditions and validate thehazard data for site, but their servicesdo not replace the work of a certifiedprofessional that may be required toconduct engineering analysis or designfor your property.What is the way forward?The HVA process will continue toimprove as new data becomes availableand people become more aware of itsbenefits. The strategy is to ensure thatdisaster management, environmentalmanagement and physical planningconsiderations are institutionalized inthe development decision approvalprocesses. Despite the positive viewsexpressed in this article, there has beena great deal of resistance to acceptingthe HVA process among some of thehome owners and professionals in thedevelopment sector. Some of the gapsin the process have been identified,such as the need for transparency andconsistency in the requirement of theHVA for development applications. It isexpected that additional gaps will ariseas the process continues, and effortswill continue to be made by the relevantagencies to ensure that they can beaddressed over time. Issues such as theneed for registration for Architects andEngineers, updated BuildingRegulations, and the development ofPlanning Regulations. have beenidentified as projects that must be takenforward to enhance the entiredevelopment process and, in turn,improve the HVA process as well. Theseprojects have been defined within theCDM Strategy (2009-2013) for theMitigation and Planning ProgrammeArea in conjunction with the Town andCountry Planning, Public WorksDepartment, Survey Department,Conservation and Fisheries Departmentand other key agencies.The DDM has committed tocontinued efforts to address the gaps inthe hazard data for the Territorythrough partnerships with regional andinternational agencies and keygovernments departments. Ms. DaBreocommented, “We are trying to ensurethat the HVA is as comprehensive aspossible. We are aware of the need toincorporate more structured climateadaptation measures.“Currently, the Government of the VirginIslands is part of several regionalprojects that will enhance the hazardmapping and vulnerability assessmentsprocess including:• The Caribbean Satellite Disaster;the objectives of this project are toimplement the use of satellite datato define the locations that arevulnerable to flooding anddetermine effective mitigationmeasures to reduce the risk offlooding.• The European Union (EU) fundedOverseas Countries andTerritories (OCTs) R3I RiskReduction Initiative Project(2008-2011) with componentsthat include enhancing hazardmapping and vulnerabilityassessments for the eleven (11)participating OCT’s. The outputsfor the VI specifically aim toinclude Tsunami Inundation Maps,High Resolution Storm SurgeMaps, and potentially, FloodHazards Maps.• A Geographical InformationSystems (GIS-based) Flood EarlyWarning System (FEWS) Project.This project is being implementedthrough CDEMA, with fundingfrom the Australian Agency forInternational Development(AusAID).As development expandsthroughout the region, so do the risksfrom natural hazards. Ms. DaBreoempathetically stated, “Countries needto begin the serious examination ofavailable local hazard data anddetermine how they can apply that datato a development process to allow for alink between Disaster Risk Reductionand sustainable development. Policymakers in the development planningareas, in the Ministry of Finance, andthe Project Management institutionswithin Governments must be convincedthat the data is essential to allow foreconomically viable futuredevelopment. We must fullyunderstand the science behind naturalhazards and how these can impact ourdeveloping nations. Without thisunderstanding, we will continue toencounter difficulties in addressing therisks inherent with these naturalphenomena.”It is imperative that hazardmitigation methods are integrated intothe planning and design phases toachieve sustainable development. TheVirgin Islands have made othersignificant advances in applyingmitigation measures within buildingtechniques to allow for safeconstruction. This has been donethrough the introduction of the SaferBuilding Course offered by the local H.Lavity Stoutt Community College. Thesecourses are linked to the renewal andissuance of contractors’ trade licenses.These methods are essential for safedesign and construction throughout theCaribbean.Where in the Virgin Islandscan I find more information?If you would like to find out moreinformation about the HVA process orany details regarding the informationprovided above, please contact the DDMat 284-468-4200, check out theDepartment’s website;www.bviddm.com, or send an email tobviddm@surfbvi.com.Beautifully stunning visualsgraphic design servicesdawlindesignsp: 1-284-544-5553 e:dawlindesigns@hotmail.comJuly 2011Disaster Digest 71


Stormwater Management andControl in the Caribbean®By Marissa Da Breo, BSc, MAS, LEED APStormwater is a term that refers tothe runoff resulting from a rain event.In a forested or vegetated area, rainfallis intercepted by trees, shrubs andground cover which reduces its velocityand allows it to percolate into the soil.Rainfall that does not infiltrate the soilflows along the surface towards a lowpoint. Vegetation holds the soiltogether with roots and absorbs someof the moisture. When vegetation isremoved and replaced with buildings,parking lots and other impervioussurfaces, rain that would have onceinfiltrated the soil or slowly added tosurface water features like rivers andstreams, now becomes stormwaterrunoff. Figure 1 depicts what happensto precipitation when vegetation isremoved and replaced with impervioussurfaces. As illustrated, 40% of waterthat falls in a vegetated area returns tothe atmosphere throughevapotransporation from vegetation,10% becomes surface runoff and 50%percolates into the soil. On the otherhand, in an area that is 75% to 100%developed, 30% of the water returns tothe atmosphere as evapotranspiration,55% becomes surface runoff and onlyFigure 1: Precipitation in Vegetated versus Developed Areahttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/46/Natural_%26_impervious_cover_diagrams_EPA.jpg15% infiltrates the soil. Developmentdisrupts the hydrologic cycle.Water that runs over impervioussurfaces, like parking lots and roads,and bare soil tends to do so at a highervelocity than it would in a vegetatedarea because there is not much toimpede its progress. This runoffcollects debris, sediments, chemicalsand other pollutants that may be on thepaved surfaces and in the soil andtransports them to rivers, stream andother water bodies where water qualityis impaired. The increased velocity alsocauses erosion. The United NationsEnvironment Programme (UNEP)(1994, 14) notes that “[a] largeproportion of erosion in the Caribbeanis caused by poor road alignments andimproper control of the drainage andrunoff from roads”. The EnvironmentalProtection Agency (EPA) of the UnitedStates (2005, 11) notes that“stormwater plays a large role intransporting pollutants to streams,drinking water sources, and otherreceiving water bodies.” Runoff fromagricultural lands may containchemicals and biological contaminantsfrom fecal matter. Fecal material frompets also pollutes stormwater runoff.Polluted water can percolate into thegroundwater affecting its quality and itcan impair the quality of rivers, bays,shorelines, ponds and other surface


water bodies. According to the EPAstormwater may contain the following:- Oil, grease, and toxic chemicals fromurban runoff- Sediment from improperlymanaged construction sites, cropand forest lands, and erodingstream banks- Bacteria and nutrients fromlivestock, pet wastes, wildlife, andfaulty septic systems- A myriad of other pollutantsoriginating with a [w]ide variety ofland based activities- Excess fertilizers, herbicides, andinsecticides from agricultural landsand residential areas (2005,11).In addition to transporting debrisand pollution, stormwater can alter thedelicate balance found in streams andother water bodies. According to theEPA (2005) as stormwater flows overpaved surfaces its temperatureincreases. When this warm water flowsinto streams it can raise the streamtemperature affecting the animal andplant life. Additionally, the volume ofstormwater entering streams frompaved surfaces, for instance, can causestream bank erosion. If there is nodrainage infrastructure to handle thestormwater volume, the likelihood oflocalized flooding increases as does theresultant infrastructure and propertydamage.Of importance is the erosion thatoccurs in mountainous or sloped areas,such as in the Caribbean, whenvegetation is removed for farming, roadbuilding or other development. TheUNEP (1994) describes the varioustypes of erosion that can occur onexposed slopes. Splash erosion occurswhen rain drops come into directcontact with bare soil. Particles aredisplaced and as more rain falls, sheeterosion comes into play. Rill and gullyerosion begins when the runoff beginsto erode and create small channels.Many rills join together to create gullies.Erosion is worsened with each step asmore and more sediment is carrieddownslope to rivers, ponds, streamsand eventually to shorelines wherewater quality is impaired and marinehabitat and life is affected. Of concernto the region is the sedimentation ofbays and ports and the impact ofsediments on coral reefs and the marinelife they support. Figure 2 provides anillustration of erosion on exposedslopes.Figure 2: Typical Types of Erosion that occurs on Exposed Slopes in theCaribbean - http://www.cep.unep.org/pubs/Techreports/tr32en/fig1.gifPollution that is found in stormwateris described as “Nonpoint SourcePollution”. The pollution cannot belinked to a particular source, where as“Point Source Pollution” can be tracedto a specific point/outlet like a factory,power plant, sewage treatment plant,etc.Stormwater is recognised as animportant source of pollution. As such,managing stormwater is a key issue inenvironmental management andplanning. Some would regardstormwater management as getting itoff of their property as soon as possibleand letting others deal with theproblem. It is now commonly acceptedthat it is better to handle stormwaterwhere it is generated because leaving itto accumulate downstream can result inproperty and infrastructure damage notto mention pollution.Over the past decades severalstormwater best management practiceshave been developed to handlestormwater and the resulting pollution.Most of the practices aim to control thestormwater closeto where is itgenerated.The mostobvious techniqueof bestmanagementpractices thatcould be applied oradapted toconditions in theCaribbean includesreducingimpervioussurfaces andprotect forestedJuly 2011areas. Proper planning andenvironmental protectionpolicies would be beneficial inthis regard. Otherstormwatermanagement bestpractices includerain gardens orbioretentioncells, swales,infiltrationtrenches,permeablepavement andpavers, rain barrelsand cisterns, riparianbuffers, stormwaterplanters and tree boxfilters.Bioretention Cells or Rain Gardenscan be installed in the Caribbean forstormwater control. They are generallylocated at low points where waterwould normally collect/pond on a site.A depression is dug or a bank is createdto contain the water. Gravel and/orsand is placed in the bottom to allow forgood infiltration. Soil and native plantsare added.A rain garden is described byWikipedia (2009) as “a planteddepression that allows rainwater runofffrom impervious urban areas like roofs,driveways, walkways, and compactedlawn areas the opportunity to beabsorbed. This reduces rain runoff byallowing stormwater to soak into theground (as opposed to flowing intostorm drains and surface waters whichcauses erosion, water pollution,flooding, and diminished groundwater).Native plants are recommended for raingardens because they generally don'trequire fertilizer and are more tolerantof one’s local climate, soil, and waterconditions.”Figure 3: Cross Section of Retention Cell/Rain Gardenhttp://www.ence.umd.edu/~apdavis/bio-columns-ciceet.htmDisaster Digest 73


Grassed swales are narrow,shallow depressions that servecollection and recharge points orconveyance or interceptor structuresfor stormwater. Stormwater flows intoand collects in the swale and percolatesdownward. Bacteria and otherorganisms in the soil attenuates thepollution and improves the waterquality. Swales can be used to conveystormwater away from one location toanother, like away from a roadway. Thegrass and shallowness of the swalesreduces the velocity of the water andallows for infiltration and reduceserosion and transportation of debrisand sediments. Figure 4 depicts aswale.Infiltration trenches are describedFigure 4: A Grassed Swalehttp://www.pbcgov.com/coextension/horticulture/neighborhoods/tips/_images/swale.jpgby the EPA (2011, np) as “rock-filledditches with no outlets. The trenchescollect runoff during a storm event andreleases it into the soil by infiltration”.They are generally used in conjunctionwith other stormwater managementpractices, like swales. Care should betaken to avoid clogging up the trencheswith sediment, oil and debris.Therefore, devices that remove thesematerials/substances may have to beinstalled to pre-treat the stormwaterbefore it enters the trench.Porous or permeable pavementcontains voids thatallow water to passthough tounderlying layersinstead of runningalong the surfaceas runoff. Theimportant factorwith porouspavement is thatwater is allowed topercolate throughto base layers andinto the underlyingsoil. Water that percolates to theunderlying layers does not contribute tostormwater runoff. The EPA (2011,np)describes porous pavement as “analternative to asphalt or concretesurfaces that allows stormwater todrain through the porous surface to”underlying base layers and eventually tosoil. Porous pavement is illustrated infigure 6. Pervious asphalt and concreteare suitable for roadways, parking lots,sidewalks, driveways and walkways.Porous surfaces will requiremaintenance. The voids must be keptopen in order for infiltration to occur.Periodic vacuuming may be required toremove silt and debris. Porouspavement should be installed in areaswhere erosion/sediment is minimal.There are various types of surfacesand applications other than porousconcrete and asphalt that areconsidered porous including permeablepavers. Permeable pavers can be madefrom concrete or plastic and can befilled with grass, sand or gravel.Permeable and grass paver applicationsare illustrated below.Cisterns and rain barrels can beused to collect and store rainwater fromroofs which can then be used for bothnon-potable and potable uses. Watercollected inthese structuresdoes notcontribute torunoff, thereby,reducingstormwatervolume. TheNationalInstitute ofBuildingSciences (2009)points out thatcisterns andrain barrels can reduce and controlpeak stormwater flows, reducestormwater volume and promote waterconservation. Many of the smallerCaribbean islands where rainfall islimited already require that newresidential construction install cisternsequipped with filters and pumps. Thecaptured water is used for potable andother uses relieving some of thedemand on the public supply system. Atypical cistern is illustrated below.Rain barrels provide anotherFigure 6: Porous PavementSource: http://www.wispave.org/asphaltandtheenvironment.htmlFigure 9: Illustration of a Typical CisternSource: http://www.advancedbuildings.org/cisterns.htmloption for reducing stormwater runoffand encouraging reuse. They arepositioned beneath downspouts inresidences to capture rainwater and canFigure 5: Cross-section of a Typical Infiltration TrenchSource:http://www.anr.state.vt.us/dec//waterq/stormwater/htm/sw_InfiltrationTrenches.htmFigure 7: Permeable Paver ApplicationSource: http://www.epa.gov/oaintrnt/stormwater/best_practices.htm#riparianbuffersFigure 8: Grass Paver ApplicationSource: http://www.grassypavers.com/74 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


e connected in series to collect morerainfall. The barrels should also beequipped with overflow outlets. Thewater collected can be used for nonpotableuses like car washing andgarden watering. A typical rain barrel isillustrated in figure 10. Measures shouldbe taken so the barrels properlycovered at all times to preventmosquitoes from breeding in them.Large scale rain water harvestingfrom roof tops and other imperviousFigure 10: Depiction of an Installed Rain BarrelSource: http://www.lid-stormwater.net/raincist_specs.htmsurfaces is being used to flush toiletsand urinals and for irrigation and othernon-potable uses. Buildings in theCaribbean can adopt these measures toconserve water, significantly reducestormwater runoff generated by theirroofs and save money. Harvestingrainfall can be relatively inexpensive forresidences; however, for large buildingsor sites, it will be more cost effective ifrain water harvesting is included in theinitial site planning/developmentprocess.Riparian or forested buffers arezones created to protect the quality ofwater bodies or features. According tothe EPA (2011, np) “[a] riparian, orforested, buffer is an area along ashoreline, wetland, or stream wheredevelopment is restricted or prohibited.The primary function of aquatic buffersis to physically protect and separate astream, lake, or wetland from futuredisturbance or encroachment. Ifproperly designed, a buffer can providestormwater management and can act asa right-of-way during floods, sustainingthe integrity of stream ecosystems andhabitats”. Space in most Caribbeancountries is limited as many of theislands are mountainous, so there mightbe limited applicability of buffers butthat does not eliminate the need toprotect these water bodies/featuresfrom erosion, pollution anddegradation.Stormwater Planters and Tree BoxFilters are small devices that aregenerally used in urban settings to helpcapture and treat stormwater. The EPA(2011, np) notes that “[s]tormwaterplanters are small landscapedstormwater treatment devices that canbe placed above or below groundStormwater planters use soil infiltrationand biogeochemical processes todecrease stormwater quantity andFigure 11: Cross-section of a Stormwater PlanterSource: http://greenvalues.cnt.org/national/calculator.phpFigure 12: Installed Stormwater PlanterSource: http://www.tib.wa.gov/grants/urban/Sustainability.cfmimprove water quality, similar to raingardens and green roofs but smaller insize.” The University of New Hampshire(nd, np) describes Tree Box Filters as “aconcrete vault filled with a bioretentionsoil mix (BSM), planted with vegetation,and underlain with a subdrain.” TheEPA (2011) points out that “[o]ftenpremanufactured, tree box filterscontain street trees, vegetation, and soilthat help filter runoff before it enters acatch basin or is released from the site.The compact size of tree box filtersallows volume and water quality controlto be tailored to specific sitecharacteristics. Tree box filters providethe added value of aesthetics whilemaking efficient use of available landfor stormwater management. Typicallandscape plants (for example, shrubs,ornamental grasses, trees and flowers)are an integral part of the bioretentionsystem. Ideally, plants should beselected that can withstand alternatinginundation and drought conditions andthat do not have invasiveroot systems, which mayreduce the soil’s filteringcapacity.” A tree box filteris illustrated in figure 113.Green roofs refer toroofs where vegetativespecies are planted inmedia and allowed to growon top of the roofingmembrane. Green roofsintercept and absorbrainfall reducing theamount of runoff thatflows off roofs, delayingpeak discharge ontoroadways, adjacentproperties and intodrainage systems. The EPAnotes that “[g]reen roofscan be effectively used toreduce stormwater runofffrom commercial,industrial, and residentialbuildings. In contrast totraditional asphalt ormetal roofing, green roofsabsorb, store, and laterevapotranspire initialprecipitation, therebyacting as a stormwatermanagement system andreducing overall peak flowdischarge.” Green roofsnot only reducestormwater runoff anddelay peak discharge they also,according to the EPA (2009) result in a,“reduction of urban heat island effects,increased thermal insulation andenergy efficiency, increased acousticinsulation, and increased durability andlifespan compared to conventionalroofs.”July 2011Disaster Digest 75


Figure 13: Depiction of a Tree Box Filterhttp://ciceet.unh.edu/unh_stormwater_report_2007/treatments/tree_box/design.phpAccording to Wikipedia (2011),green roofs are classified as extensive,intensive or semi-intensive based on thedepth of the media used and theamount of maintenance required.Intensive roofs have thick media,require irrigation, periodic fertilizationand maintenance and may containplants that vary from small trees tograsses. They are often park-like inappearance. Extensive roofs use lessmedia and require little maintenance.The graphic in figure 15 provides across section of a green roof showingthe vegetative species, media, drainagelayer, insulation and membraneprotection/root barrier on top of theroofing membrane. Not all green roofsare installed directly unto roofs,however. Modular green roof systemsare assembled in portable, plasticcontainers off-site, transported andinstalled on-site.It should be noted that the plantsused should be comprised of native,Figure 14: Installed Green RoofSource: http://www.ia.nrcs.usda.gov/features/urbanphotos.htmldrought tolerant, hardy species. Plantsshould be carefully selected becausevarieties with extensive root system andthat grow tall and sturdy will not besuitable for green roof applications.Also of importance is the media. Themedia has to be loose enough to allowwater to pass through yet provideample moisture for the plants. Soilswith high clay content are not suitablefor green roof applications.Additionally, the roof has to be able tosupport the additional weight of thegreen roof components and the rainfallthat will be absorbed and held. As withany other roofing systems, periodicmaintenance will be required. Wateringmay be required to ensure proper plantestablishment; installation during thewet season may eliminate this need.Weeding may be required to removeundesirable species. The typicalcomponents of a green roof areillustrated in figure 15.Of concern is leak detection andrepair. Modular systems offer flexibilitythat is not available with intensive andextensive systems which makes repairsless complicated. However, as notedabove, green roofs extend the life ofroofs by eliminating exposure tosunlight and damaging ultra violet rays.Green roofs are suitable for theCaribbean region because they aresimple systems that can be customizedwith local species to be as effective asthose installed elsewhere. Green roofsinstalled in urban, flood prone areas inthe Caribbean can significantly reducestormwater runoff and resultantflooding and property damage.Additionally, green roofs can bedesigned to be attractive and canprovide recreational andeducational opportunities.There is no doubt thatstormwater and the pollution itcontains/transports is a problemin Caribbean region. Afterrainstorms, it is not unusual tosee brown, muddy water whererivers and streams flow into theocean. The brown cloud can lastfor several hours if not days andis an indication of inland erosion.One can also expect garbage andchemical pollutants to be presentin that murky water. Space inmany of the Caribbean islands islimited given the mountainousnature of most of the islands;Figure 15: Typical Green Roofhttp://www.glwi.uwm.edu/research/genomics/ecoli/greenroof/benefits.phphowever, several of the bestmanagement practices discussed can beapplied in the region with little or nomodification. Individuals, propertyowners, developers, businesses andgovernment all have a role to play instormwater control and management.Controlling these stormwaters plays apivitol role in controlling pollution,environmental management andehancing tourism.ReferencesUnited States Environmental protection Agency.2005. Using smart growth techniques asstormwater best management practices.United States Environmental protection Agency.2009. National Pollutant Discharge EliminationSystem (NPDES). United States EnvironmentalProtection Agency. National Pollutant DischargeElimination System. 2006. Porous pavement.http://cfpub.epa.gov/npdes/stormwater/menuofbmps/index.cfm?action=browse&Rbutton=detail&bmp=71&minmeasure=5United States Environmental protection Agency.2011. Stormwater Management Best Practices.Last modified February 16, 2011.http://www.epa.gov/oaintrnt/stormwater/best_practices.htm#inletprotectiondevicesUnited Nations Environment Programme:Guidelines for Sediment Control Practices in theInsular Caribbean. CEP Technical Report No. 32,1994.http://www.cep.unep.org/pubs/Techreports/tr32en/content.htmlUnited States Department of Agriculture, NationalResource and Conservation Service.2009."Greening" storm water with rain gardens:Virgin Islands RC&D success story.http://www.pr.nrcs.usda.gov/partnerships/VIRCDraingarden.htmlUniversity of New Hampshire. n.d. University ofNew Hampshire Stormwater Center 2007 AnnualReport. http://ciceet.unh.edu/unh_stormwater_report_2007/treatments/tree_box/design.phpWikipedia. 2011. “Green roof.” Last modifiedMarch 11. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_roof76 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


The Development of theThe Results Based ManagementFramework (RBM) provides astructured approach for monitoring,evaluation and reporting (MER) basedon the establishment of clearly definedresults articulated as impact, outcomeand output statements, comprising theLogical Framework Analysis andperformance indicators, which are partof the Performance MeasurementFramework. The Caribbean DisasterEmergency Management AgencyParticipating States have adopted theRBM Framework to plan, implement,monitor, evaluate and report on predefinedresults articulated in theEnhanced Regional ComprehensiveDisaster Management Strategy (ERCDM). The Department of DisasterManagement of the Government of theVirgin Islands (DDM) has adapted andcontextualised the ER CDM byformulating its own strategy andprogramming framework to suit thelocal needs. Through a consultativeprocess undertaken internally andexternally, DDM drafted the VirginIslands Comprehensive DisasterManagement Policy and the VirginIslands Comprehensive DisasterManagement Strategy andProgramming Framework, 2009 – 2013(VI CDM). These two documentssynthesize the department’s strategicdirection over a five year plannedperiod and were formally approved bythe Cabinet of the Government of theVirgin Islands in 2008.In order to support theimplementation of the policy andstrategic imperatives identified in theplans, DDM identified the need tosupport Comprehensive DisasterManagement (CDM) through thedevelopment of an InformationManagement System (IMS). PolicyPriority 11 of the VI CDM states thatDDM should “Ensure that in the VI, CDMis based on sound principles, rests onappropriate legislation, and issupported by robust structures and anadequate and updated planningframework”, which frames theoverarching need to found allmanagement structures, itsprogrammes and projects, around CDMand RBM. Outcome 2, “CDM integratedinto national policies/laws/strategiesand DDM activities” and output 2.13“DDM CDM Strategy executed,monitored and reported on” dictate theresults which will require thedevelopment of a robust IMS toadminister the strategy and itsimplementation. The hallmarks of theVI CDM’s programming framework arethe clear links established between theregionally-based outcome and outputstatements and their performanceindicators to the national ones, theallocation of responsibility in thedelivery of the same to members of staffof DDM, the prescription of who is togather data, monitor and analyse resultsand performance indicators, asdescribed in the plan’s annexes and theconnection between the RBM ResultsChain to existing programmes. The planBy Joseph Smith AbbottResults Based ManagementFramework-based System And Electronic Database For Monitoring,Evaluation And Reporting Under The Virgin Islands ComprehensiveDisaster Management Strategy And Programming Frameworkdescribes annualactivities and setsthe yearly targetswhich should beachieved at theorganisational andindividual levels.JointApplicationDevelopmentprinciples wereemployedthroughout therefinement of theMER System andestablishment anddeployment of thedatabaseapplication. Theunderlying premiseof the JointApplicationDevelopment is theintegration of theuser in all scopingactivities during thedevelopment of anapplication, inorder to bettermirror and addresstheir needs. Anemphasis wasplaced in thedistinction betweenthe MER Systemand the MER“TheMonitoring,EvaluationandReportingSystemunder the VIComprehensiveDisasterManagementStrategyprovides aninnovativeapproach toimprovingthe deliveryofinformation,products andservicesrelated tothe areas ofdisasterpreparedness,mitigation,response andrecovery.database. The MER System, whichevolved in consultation with DDM, is theaggregate of all of the concepts,


principles, work processes andpractices, which document thedepartment’s approach to its functionsof monitoring, evaluation and reporting.The definition of the system’s keyconcepts should increase the likelihoodof adoption in the use of the applicationat the workplace. The properevaluation and analysis of the context inwhich this database is deployed canlead to a greater understanding of itsproper role. The MER database is theelectronic application, which supportsthe MER System. It resides as anelement of the overall system whichwas established. The electronicdatabase is not the central focus ofattention related to the Department’sefforts with respect to MER, it is a toolat its disposal to aggregate and organiseinformation. Early in the developmentstages of the MER System, stakeholderswere concerned about sustainingmonitoring and evaluation effortswithin the organisation and beyond thelife of the project. These concerns wereallayed through guided discussion anddocumentation of the forces driving theeffort, complemented by a similaranalysis of the individual motivationrequired to comply with business rulesestablished through this process.The development of the MERSystem and database application wasimplemented in a multi-phased mannercharacterized by the following steps:1) The analysis of the policies, laws,regulations, and strategies at thenational and international levels,which impacts the work at DDMand which the system mustreport against. This analysiswent beyond that initiallydescribed in the VI CDM toinclude the elucidation ofconceptual models which wouldallow DDM to link any instrumentof policy, law, various bi- andmulti-lateral agreements orstrategies to the VI CDM outcomestatements;2) The documentation of thedepartmental processes, inclusiveof the programmaticinterdependencies, required todeliver planned and unplannedresults;3) The performance of a readinessassessment for the developmentand adoption of an MER inconsultation with Ministries anddepartments of government,which will rely on the productsdelivered by the IMS, so as tosensitize everyone as to thecapabilities of the system and toaddress data and informationmanagement issues;4) The extensive consultation withindividual members of DDM staffand system users to ascertaintheir potential roles within theemergent MER system and tounderstand how their currentworkloads can be integrated andfacilitated by the IMS. This stepwas critical in establishing theinitial requirements to be fulfilledby the application at a practicaland operational level;5) The determination andsubsequent modelling of thenecessary processes andworkflows which were to besupported by the MER databasealong with the establishment ofbusiness rules’6) The establishment of the linksbetween organisationalperformance (as expressedthrough the RBM Framework)and individual performance (asrequired under the Governmentof the Virgin Islands’Performance ManagementProgramme). In particular, amodel for the manner in whichthe same would be practicallylinked to support monitoring andevaluation at both levels wasderived,7) The development of theelectronic database, and8) The deployment and testing ofthe database. This phase alsoincluded the analysis of thesystem’s adoption by its usersand the quality of the productsgenerated by the electronic MERsystem, as reported by variousstakeholders.Early in the establishment anddiscussion of the proper role thatmonitoring, evaluation and reportingwould have within DDM, recognition ofthe fact that this initiative was uniquewithin the civil service was recognised.In order to provide simple and effectivelanguage which would describe theeffort and the MER framework at DDM,a mission statement was consultativelyderived, which reads:


“The Monitoring, Evaluation andReporting System under the VIComprehensive Disaster ManagementStrategy provides an innovativeapproach to improving the delivery ofinformation, products and servicesrelated to the areas of disasterpreparedness, mitigation, response andrecovery.”Thereafter, the consultant guidedDDM through detailed work processand workflow analyses with Mr.Leonard Dash, a database designer whoassisted with the elaboration of thedatabase schema and determination ofthe business rules to be imposed. Theschema detailed the following majorconcepts to be employed in thedatabase application (which eventuallybecame principal modules in thedatabase): Policy Framework, ResultsBased Management Framework,Programme Management, ProjectBudgeting and Accounting, InventoryManagement, and the PerformanceManagement Programme of theGovernment of the Virgin Islands.The principal modules integratestrategic planning with strategicimplementation. As a custom made,disaster management specificapplication, project stakeholdersdefined models for linking the VI CDMto ER CDM outputs in order to roll upand facilitate reporting against thisregional instrument. RBM outcomeshave been linked to other types ofstrategic or legal instruments wherecustom reports may be producedagainst the same. Keywords, whichdefine or characterise CDM or disastermanagement specific concepts, havebeen employed to index various types ofprojects. This includes thecategorisation and indexing by hazardtypes. In that manner, reporting can beperformed using CDM or DM crosscuttingthemes and concepts againstactual work performed at theprogrammatic level. Critical functionssuch as the management of inventorycan be realised, especially duringemergencies. Stakeholder analysesperformed during the preparatoryphases of the VI CDM Strategy can beentered into the system and candynamically guide decision making andthe programmatic interaction withstakeholders. In this capacity, theapplication is also construed as adecision-support tool. Evaluationsperformed by users, based on programand project data, can inform internalstakeholders and decision-makerswithin the Government of the VirginIslands. The database is built on aMicrosoft SQL Server platform with aMicrosoft Access front end and itresides on the Government of the VirginIslands’ intranet. This affordsopportunities for DDM to exposevarious products derived from its MERdatabase to senior officials within thecivil service. In that manner, DDM canbuild on its established culture ofeffectiveness and transparency, byallowing critical stakeholders to gainaccess to the same informationgenerated by the department. Theincreased and sustained use of the MERsystems will demonstrate value formoney in the use of the project fundsemployed to derive the system, allowsenior government officials access totimely information generated by thedepartment on various hazard events,preparedness and mitigation efforts,annual and project reports and possibly,other types of information requested ondemand.The Department of DisasterManagement of the Government of theVirgin Islands is at the forefront in theintegration of strategic planning andimplementation. The elucidation of amonitoring, evaluation and reportingsystem based on the Results BasedManagement Framework, itsorganisational culture, and itsunderstanding of the role it plays inreducing the impact of hazard events inthe Virgin Islands places it at thevanguard in the discourse related to theeffective use of resources to improveorganisational effectiveness andefficiency. The sustained use of theMER System and database application,with its clearly articulated processes,will support the Department in itsefforts to reduce the impact of disastersand minimize human suffering andlosses to the physical and naturalenvironment.Mr. Joseph Smith Abbott is the lead consultantfor Sage Consultancy Services and developer ofthe DDM MER System and Database.


By Philomena Robertson“It is better to prepare and preventrather than repair and repent.” This1856 quote from S. Thomas is displayedprominently on the website of theDepartment of Disaster Management(DDM) and illustrates the importancethe Department attributes topreparation in its overall disastermanagement programme. The quotealso represents the premise on whichearly warning systems are basedbecause it is through adequatepreparation and precautionarymeasures that we are able to reduce thepotential impact of a disaster. Earlywarning systems are a criticalpart of any disasterpreparedness or mitigationprogramme. They are the meansthrough which the population isalerted to potential dangers,looming emergencies oroncoming hazards.The DDM, like its fellowagencies across the Caribbeanand in fact throughout the worldardently subscribes to notionthat early warning systems savelives by empowering people to takepreventative action. The Department isstaunchly committed to a holisticapproach to disaster management,ensuring its systems are fully functionaland effective while at the same timeincreasing public awareness andinformation. As clearly stated in itsmission, the DDM is unwavering in itscommitment to “reduce loss of life andproperty attributable to disasters byensuring that adequate preparednessand mitigation measures and responseand recovery mechanisms areestablished to counteract the impact ofnatural and technological hazards.”Mr. Jasen Penn, the EmergencyCommunications Officer at the DDMunderscores the significance of suchmechanisms. “Early warning systemsare very important because withoutthem we would not have the means toalert persons ahead of time that there isa potential danger that is likely to affect“We havemultiplesystemsbecause weare trying tocover asmuch of theTerritory aspossible.”them.” Elaborating further, Penn said“with hurricanes, you can track themfor a number of days but things liketsunamis are different because they canimpact in a matter of hours, thereforeyou need something to alert thepopulation almost immediately.”A report by the United NationsEnvironmental Programme (UNEP)report defines early warning as “theprovision of timely and effectiveinformation, through identifiedinstitutions that allows individualsexposed to hazard to take action toavoid or reduce their risk and preparefor effective response.”According to the report earlywarnings integrate four keyelements, namely knowledge ofthe risk; monitoring andprediction of the said risk; thedissemination of information ina simple, reliable format througheffective communicationsmeans and the response tothe risk, both at thegovernmental level or theagency responsible forcoordination and thepopulation's awareness of thesteps to be taken. The reporttitled Early Warning Systems:State-of-the-Art Analysis andFuture Directions furthercontends that the “failure ofany part of the system willimply a failure of the wholesystem.”The Virgin Islands utilisesvarious types of early warningsystems. There is the nationalsiren network, the recently installedsmart radios and the EmergencyBroadcast System (EBS) which allowsthe DDM to momentarily take over thebroadcast system to send messages viaFM radio stations. The agency alsoutilises VHF radios which Penndescribes as a useful means ofcommunication, particularly if othersystems fail. Explaining the need formultiple systems, Penn said “we aretrying to cover as much of the Territoryas possible.” The sirens are located insome of the more densely populatedareas and while more would be a greatasset to the DDM, Penn confirms theyare quite expensive. Faced withbudgetary constraints but still requiredto fulfil its mandate, the Departmenthas added other types of warningsystems to its network. “That's why wecame up with the EBS and now we haveadded smart radios as well. We testedthe smart radios recently and theresponse was generally good so we arehighly encouraged by that,” Penn stated.The siren network is the oldestearly warning system operated in theVI. It is an outdoor type system andinstalled in the more densely populatedareas of the VI. It is simply a network ofsirens that are sounded in the event ofan impending disaster. According toPenn, once the sirens are activated theywill keep being sounded tofully alert people.He also80 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


disclosed that “the sirens run on backup battery power so even if the powergoes, they can continue to operate atfull throttle.” Though identified as thebest warning system if there is animmediate emergency, the efficacy ofthe sirens however, is pretty muchrestricted to their locations and will notbe heard beyond an approximate 2miles from the centre. “Depending onyour location, you may not hear thesirens and we cannot effectivelymitigate against disasters if the entirepopulation is not adequately alerted,”Penn stated.The second early warningmechanism used in the VI is theEmergency Broadcast System whichworks through the telephone and isused to interrupt the regular broadcastsystem to send messages to the public.VHF radios are used as a back up in theevent that the phone links were to godown. According to Penn, “if thestations are operating on back-uppower and the VHF radios can beaccessed through line of sight or theDepartment's repeater system, we canactivate the EBS which is the one thatinterrupts regular programming on theradio stations.”The VHF radios also functionindependently as an early warningsystem. Though it is an older means ofcommunication, Penn described it as acritical mechanism. The EmergencyCommunications Officerrevealed that there areseveral persons whoare linked to the DDMnetwork via VHFradios. Here again, theeffectiveness of thismethod depends onthe repeater systembeing up or the VHF radiosoperating through line of sight but Pennsays the system has the capacity toreach a wide cross-section of thepopulation.Most recently, the DDM throughfunding from the CanadianInternational Development Agency(CIDA) purchased and installed 52smart radios in public and privateschools, police and fire stations andclinics across the BVI. The smart radiois a relatively new concept and Pennexplained how it works. “This isessentially a number of small radio FMtype units that are tied into three FMstations in the VI,namely ZCCR, ZKINGand ZROD. They arelinked via anencoder here atDDM and a serveraccessed by theweb. We are able tolog in and send messagesto the server and these in turn aredispatched to encoders at the radiostations with the signals beingeventually sent out to the field.”Penn identified some of theadvantages of the smart radios. “Thegood thing is that they don't interruptregular programming and the smartradios don't have to be on at all times.Smart radios will automatically come oneven if they are off and allow messagesto be broadcast and their battery lifecan provide for up to 30 hours ofoperation.” Another advantage is thatsmart radios monitor the local channelsand even if you are tuned in to anotherstation, you would still receive whateveremergency messages are dispatched.Smart radios retail for about $125,depending on the model. Pennencourages establishments which arenot adequately covered by a DDM earlywarning system, to invest in one of thedevices. Once purchased, the unit can beadded to the DDM server and the userwill be able to receive messages sent viathis system. The installation of smartradios is part of the disaster agency'songoing objective of expandingits early warning system.“The DDM came upwith the smartradios becausethere are areaswhere we cannot putsirens and there arepersons who may not belistening to the radio at a particulartime. We have to find creative andeffective means of alerting the entirepopulation to reduce the loss of life anddamage that can result from disasters,”Penn stated.The VI is made up of sixty islandsand cays. While not all of these areinhabited it is imperative to alert all ofthe residents in the event of a disaster.“We have multiple systems because weare trying to cover as much of theTerritory as possible.” Confirming thatall of the main islands are covered, Pennsaid “we have quite a bit coveredJuly 2011already but we are still trying toexpand.” A second siren was recentlyinstalled in Virgin Gorda and the othermain islands have at least one sireneach. The sister islands also have accessto the EBS and smart radios have beeninstalled in critical facilities on thesister islands as well.What good are early warningsystems if the population is not awareof how to respond? The DDM recognisesthat public awareness is a key part ofthe overall disaster mitigation strategyand as such it has an ongoinginformation, awareness and educationprogramme. A survey conducted by theDepartment sought to ascertain ifpeople actually knew what to do whenthe early warning system is activated.The survey revealed that most peopleknew what to do but the DDM alsoidentified some areas whereimprovements could be made to getmore persons aware of the actual use ofthe system. You often hear stories ofchildren being able to tell parents andguardians what to do in the event of anemergency and Penn confirmed that“most kids in the VI have a pretty goodunderstanding of what to do when thesystem is activated.” He added that theDDM will continue the programme ofdrills it has conducted in variousschools.Also noteworthy is the fact that therecent tsunami in Japan and thesimulation exercise conducted in lateMarch have stimulated a greaterinterest among people in the Territory.“Individuals have become moresensitised and many people, instead ofviewing the sirens as a nuisance arenow inquiring why there isn't one intheir location,” Penn noted as heoutlined the feedback following theCaribbean wide March 23 simulationexercise.The real value of early warningsystems becomes crystal clear whenone considers the 9.0 magnitudeearthquake and subsequent tsunami inJapan which claimed just about 400Disaster Digest 81


lives and compares it to the2004 earthquake andresulting tsunami in theIndian Ocean, the death tollfrom which reached the10,000 mark. Had Japan'ssophisticated earlywarning system notexisted, the death toll couldhave been significantlyhigher. We may not havethe technologicalsophistication of theJapanese but that doesn'tdiminish the significanceor extreme relevance of theearly warning systems thatdo exist in the VI.It is one thing to haveearly warning systems inplace and another to havethem function properly. To ensureoptimum functionality, the DDMtests its entire early warningthsystem network on the 4 Friday ofevery month. The testing, part ofthe routine maintenance programme,ensures that all aspects of the systemare working while allowing DDMofficials to rectify any problemsidentified. The Department'smaintenance plan also includes aroutine check of batteries, antennae,radios and links. The Department alsoencourages VHF radio owners andoperators to regularly check theirbatteries or bring them in to the DDMfor maintenance.The disaster management agencyis also consistently examining ways toimprove its system. At present, aslightly different procedure is used foreach type of early warning system andthey each have to be manually activatedwhich creates a lag between each. Penndisclosed that the DDM is looking at theCommon Alerting Protocol (CAP), whichwill allow the agency to tie all thesystems into one and facilitatesimultaneous activation. Anotherinnovation the DDM is planning is cellbroadcasting but there are legal issuesto be addressed before this system isimplemented. Explaining, thisinnovation, Penn said, it's similar tolistening to a radio station on yourphone; persons would get emergencymessages generated by the DDM.” Thereare several other initiatives in the worksincluding the Caribbean TsunamiWarning Centre which is being built inPuerto Rico. Though regional in nature,these would impact the VI as theCaribbean is moving towards a fullfledgedcomprehensive early warningsystem that would benefitall of the islands.The obvious downsideto not having earlywarning systems in place isthe inability to know of anexisting threat. If you areunaware of a loomingthreat, there is no way foryou to safeguard yourself,loved ones or property.This scenario increases thelikelihood of lives beinglost and can jeopardiseeconomic stability. “If youlook at it from aneconomic standpoint, thepopulation is one of thegreatest assets and yourhuman resource base canbe significantly diminishedin a disaster. Replenishing all theknowledge lost along with theinfrastructure and maybe even keycomponents of your emergencyresponse services can certainly seta country back,” Penn eloquently noted.It is for this reason that the DDMremains unfailingly committed to notonly having the appropriate earlywarning systems in place but to alsoensuring that the population knowshow to respond. The onus is not only onthe Department however. Persons needto become familiar with the hazardsthat can impact the VI and learn some ofthe visual signs. Families areencouraged to devise their personaldisaster plans detailing where to meetand how to communicate in the event ofa disaster. Effective disaster mitigationdepends largely on various elementsworking in harmony and the usefulnessof the early warning systems utilisedwill always be a work in progress.Keeping You Safe and Secured284-494-947682 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


A Practical Educationto Disaster ManagementBy Sachkia BarnesWhen given his orders to report asthe Queen’s Representative to theBritish Virgin Islands, His ExcellencyGovernor William Boyd McCleary CMGCVO packed up his family from his lastpost as British High Commissioner inMalaysia and headed west for theCaribbean. A veteran of the Foreign andCommonwealth Office, Boyd McClearyhas over 35 years of experience inBritish diplomacy, serving in Germany,Korea, Turkey and Canada. Hisassignment to the BVI would be his firsttime in the region working on issues ofgovernance and receiving a practicaleducation on disaster management.As head of a UK foreign mission inAsia, Governor Boyd McCleary receivedtraining in crisis preparedness. In 2004after the South East Asia tsunami, hehad responsibilities in managing theassistance offered to thousands ofBritish nationals in that region. Prior tocoming to the British Virgin Islands, healso managed the crisis posed by theApril 2010 Iceland volcano eruptionsthat grounded thousands of flightsacross Europe, and left even moreBritish travellers stranded.Though he has had training andopportunities in crisis communication,outside of drills and simulationexercises, Governor Boyd McClearystated that he never previouslyexperienced first hand an actual naturalhazard. That was one reason afterunderstanding the important role of theGovernor as head of the BVI’s nationaldisaster management plan he wentabout diligently preparing for the job. “Icame aware at an early stage thatdisaster management was one of thedirect responsibilities of the Governor,so I tried to prepare as much as possiblefor that component of the job. “ saidGovernor Boyd McCleary. He alsovisited UK agencies that assist OverseasTerritories (OTs) in times of disasterssuch as the Ministry of Defence that hasresponsibility for arranging the navalpresence that assists those Territories.The FCO also assisted in hisGovernor Boyd McCleary chairing National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) meeting duringHurricane Earl - 2010preparation through work with theiradvisor on disaster management in theCaribbean, former BVI Governor and aman who has experience dealing with ahost of disasters, Frank Savage. “Heprovides advise for future governorsbefore they go out to the territories. Heensures that they are briefed as much aspossible before coming out.” he said.Sworn in at the House of Assemblyon August 20, just ten days later thenew Governor was charged withmanaging the Territory’s nationalresponse to Hurricane Earl, the fifthnamed storm of the 2010 season. “Iwas attuned in my mind to the fact thatthere could well be some serious stormevents during my first few months asgovernor. In fact I referred to it in myswearing in address. Little did I knowthat within ten days we would haveHurricane Earl and shortly after that wehad tropical storm Otto, very seriousweather events which reeked seriousdamage throughout the Territory.”recalled the Governor.Still with amazement in his voiceabout the storms ferocity, the Governorsaid, “The impact of a hurricane wasvery dramatic. I remember standing upon the balcony at the back of DDM,looking out as sheets of wind and rainpassing across Road Harbour and it wasvery dramatic visually.“ With the sightsof nature before him, the Governorknew of his larger responsibility to theTerritory. “Of course I was verycognisant of the fact that many peoplewere hunkered down and werestruggling to deal with that wind andweather. There was a lot of damagebeing done and there was a potential forloss of life and serious injury, so thatwas something that I was conscious ofbut I had to focus on the job at hand andthe job was to manage the NationalEmergency Operations Centre.”Governor Boyd McCleary went on toexplain his function in his firstassignment as head of the NEOC. “Wedecided early on, given the warningsthat we were receiving, that we shouldestablish the NEOC; that was done veryswiftly and effectively.” Making his job abit easier was the staff at theDepartment of Disaster Management; ofwhom he holds in high regard for theirknowledge of their field. “My firstimpressions after getting up to the DDMwas an organisation that was prettywell oiled. They understood what theyhad to do, they realised I was prettynew and therefore they had to promptme, but they provided what I thoughtwas good advise on the timing of events.In fact, the information they received onJuly 2011Disaster Digest 83


The Governor being briefed of the current situation at the National Emergency Operations Center(EOC) during the passage of Hurricane Earlthe course of the hurricane and thetiming of the hurricane were prettygood.”He went on to say, “I think DDMitself has a good team. They have ateam with a good range of skills, theyare very thorough, they are wellprepared and they exercise regularly. Itis critically important for any disastermanagement agency to train andexercise regularly. They are constantlyupgrading their skills and reviewingtheir plans and as a result, I think theBVI is pretty well prepared for ahurricane or storm when it hits.”In general, the Governor said hebecame even more impressed with all ofthe Territory’s disaster mangers andtheir knowledge of their subject areas.“My first impression of the NEOC itselfwas that we had a very wide range ofpeople around the room from a crosssection of Government departments.”From his account this lead to accurateinformation sharing and good decisionmaking.“It was every skill ordepartment that was required tomanage the event, so we had a goodclear sense of what was going on at alltimes. We were always well briefed andI felt we were able to get messages outto the various departments and the BVIpublic with the systems we have inplace.”The Governor’s crash course indisaster management was not over inearly September after the passage ofEarl. Within a short month, theTerritory experienced Tropical StormOtto that landed over twenty-twoinches of rain throughout the VirginIslands in three short days. That type ofconsistent rainfall was not experiencedin the BVI in over fifty years. Thiscaused the Governor to put into effect aState of Emergency on October 6 thatlasted for eight days. “One of mythoughts was wind is a pretty fierceweapon that can do a lot of damage, butwater in many ways is more serious.Although Earl caused a significantamount of damage, tree damage inparticular to power lines and a fewroofs, the amount of damage done tothe Territory by the rains the followingmonth was pretty severe. That was oneof the things I’ve taken away from myfirst storm season is that wind is bad,but water can be much more serious onits impact on property. ” he recounted.The BVI experienced significantdamage to its infrastructure. So muchso that six months after the passing ofOtto, in April 2011 the Territory has yetto repair its roads. In an October 21,2010 House of Assembly meeting,Premier of the British Virgin Islands,Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBEreported that the estimated cost torepair the damage to the Territory’sinfrastructure would be $10M.Understanding the cost of disasters,the new Governor supports a strategicapproach to coil its economic effects tothe Territory. “If you have damage tothe infrastructure of the Territory thenthe cost to repairing the infrastructurecan be pretty significant. We should tryto prevent the damage from happeningthan to repair.” he encouraged. He seesbetter infrastructural planning andimproved building techniques as asource to address potential economicloses due to disasters. “ It is criticallyimportant for us to design structures sothat they don’t receive significantdamage during storms, rather than toallow that damage to happen and fix itafterwards.”Speaking on an improved strategyof addressing this issue, he said, “One ofthe things we’ve been doing over thelast couple of months is looking at thelonger term issues which the events oflast season threw up; the way in whichroads are designed, houses areconstructed, drainage channels are cut,planning permissions; how they aregiven and weather they should be givenas readily as they are. That is anattempt to look at it in a strategic way,preparing for hurricanes, storms, andother disasters. If we invest in effectivebuilding infrastructure, which is fit forpurpose, then we are more likely tomanage without too much damage toinfrastructure in the event of a stormand therefore not too high a bill forrepair afterwards.” he concluded.When asked about lessons learnedafter being trust into disastermanagement very early in his tenure asGovernor, His Excellency sited thewillingness of the DDM to learn fromexperiences that has allowed them to beprepared and prepare the Territorymore effectively. He credits theirreadiness to the BVI’s resilience overrecent years. “One thing is worthbearing in mind is if this hurricane hadhit us twenty or thirty years ago thedamage would have been much moreserious. It is evident that the strengthof building, the quality of building ismuch stronger today than it was before.I think there have been improvementsbut there should be moreimprovements.”Governor Boyd McCleary credits theDepartment of Disaster Management inhelping to make his job a little easier byadequately preparing the BVIcommunity. “I think a way in whichDDM has been able to be particularlyeffective is the way in which they workwith other Government agencies toensure their plans are up to date. DDMcan’t write plans for every single school,hospital or government department,but what they have done is to help eachentity develop their disaster plans andthat’s what they do on a regular basis.”The Governor also shared that hehas established two working groups tolook at the infrastructural and physicalimpact as well as the social impact ofthe two main events of 2010. Thefindings and recommendations of thosegroups will be shared with members ofthe National Disaster ManagementCouncil at a meeting in June 2011, justin time from the Atlantic HurricaneSeason.84 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Dissemination of Tsunami Information forthe Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands Region:a Vital Process for Rapid Response and Reduction of Tsunami HazardsBy Zamara Fuentes, Lillian Soto-Cordero, Víctor Huérfano-MorenoFigure 1. Map of the Puerto Rico-Virgin Islands Region showing the major tectonic and seismically activefeatures. Stars with dates indicate the epicenters of significant earthquakes (M7.0) that have affectedour Region. The star without a date represents the location of an event, that based on paleoseismologicalstudies, was estimated had a magnitude of ~7; its date is yet to be determined.July 2011Disaster Digest 85


Figure 2. Classification of tsunamis based on their distanceand travel time.86 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Figure 3. Tsunami alert messages issued by the WCATWC and PRSN. A brief description of themessage and the suggested action is provided.July 2011Disaster Digest 87


Figure 4. GPS-Seismic-Tide Gauge Station coverage for Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands. Green triangles represent the location of seismic stations,yellow stars depict tide gauges and red circles show GPS stations.Figure 5. Seismic station coverage across theAtlantic Basin.88 Disaster DigestJuly 2011


Figure 6. Tsunami Information FlowchartJuly 2011Disaster Digest 89


Scientists Visit Anegada to StudyCauses Of Catastrophic EventScientists visited the Virgin Islandsto conduct an eight-day analysis of thegeological effects of Hurricane Earl onAnegada to ascertain whether ahurricane impact was responsible forthe catastrophic overwash thatoccurred between 1650 and 1800.According to the Director of theDepartment of Disaster ManagementSharleen DaBreo, “ This study isongoing and relevant because scientistsare concerned that the Subduction Zonein this part of the region could create asignificant earthquake or tsunami eventin the future.”She said Anegada is ideal to searchfor geological records of ancientearthquakes and tsunamis because ofits close proximity to the zone.Dr. Brian Atwater and Mr. RobertHalley of the United States GeologicalSurvey (USGS), Dr. Martitia Tuttle of M.Tuttle & Associates and Ms. ZamaraFuentes of the Puerto Rico SeismicNetwork (PRSN) said that the study isto compare Hurricane Earl’s sedimentlayers with those between 1650 and1800.Dr. Atwater said that 1650 is citedas the earliest possible date based onradiocarbon dating. He added that1800 was calculated based on writtenaccounts from members due to leavesfound on the sediment layers of theMethodist Church on Anegada.He said, “We did find evidence of acatastrophe on Anegada, an overwashwas evident on a big portion of theisland, and we believe that thiscatastrophe can be explained by thetsunami that came from the Lisbonearthquake in 1755.”


Department of DisasterManagement’s Information andEducation Manager, Mr. Linton V.Leonard, said that DDM will continueto work with the scientists to developmaterial to be shared among the schoolpopulation and the community. “This isa way of providing insight into thegeological history of the mysterious,fascinating and inexplicably resilientisland known as 'The Drowned Land',Anegada."Findings of this study will beformalized and presented togovernment officials and will then bepublished in the Natural Hazardsscientific journal. Copies of thepublication and access to the data willbe given to the Government. Thisresearch is funded by US NuclearRegulatory Commission (USNRC).Dr. Brian Atwater of the United States Geological Survey (USGS) presents to key stakeholderswithin government what they will be doing on Anegada.The study, which was initiated in2008, and subsequently in 2009, wascarried out in salt ponds that have beenrelatively undisturbed by crabs andother organisms because of the high saltcontent.Zamara Fuentes and Dr. Atwater studyingsediment deposits in the salt pondAfter the 8 daysScientific findings from the eightdaystudy conducted by the geologistsrevealed that Hurricane Earl did nothave a significant geological impact onAnegada.In explaining the findings, Dr.Atwater said “The signature ofHurricane Earl is very small comparedto the signature of the over-washbetween 1650 and 1800.”He added that there is beautifulevidence of the over-wash on theeastern side of the island that isprobably from the tsunami caused bythe Lisbon Earthquake.He said he is amazed with how wellthe historical geologic footprints on theisland are preserved.The scientists received manyfirsthand reports from Anegadians andutilised the flyover footage captured byGovernor McClearey during hisreconnaissance flight on theUK Navy Helicopter shortlyfollowing the impact ofHurricane Earl.Debris from an over-washcan be found inland, as well asdeposits from anotherhurricane, possibly HurricaneDonna, in 1960. It wassurmised that a large braincoral boulder was washed overa kilometre inland, astride agreat amount of sand that wascarried along by the overwash.Samples collected from theboulder will be dated by thescientists.The geologists thankedthe Virgin Islands residents,particularly Anegadians whorecounted vivid recollectionsof the storm surge fromHurricane Donna in 1960 andHurricane Earl in 2010. Theyalso thanked the differentGovernment agencies thatassisted with the informationgathering.Robert Halley of USGS evaluating the depositsDr. Martitia Tuttle assistingwith the analysis evaluationJuly 2011Disaster Digest 91


July 2011Disaster Digest 93


Technical Advisory Council(TAC) Meeting Awards CeremonyBronze, silver and gold star merits wereawarded to a number of individuals atan inaugural award ceremony held onTuesday May 24, 2011 at Long BayBeach Resort in Tortola, Virgin IslandsMs. Elizabeth Riley - 10 years ofservice in Disaster Management.The occasion was the opening of thesecond meeting of the CaribbeanManagement Agency TechnicalAdvisory Committee (TAC) where therecipients discussed theimplementation status of the RegionalComprehensive Disaster Management(CDM) Programme. Here are pictures ofsome of the awardees.Mr. Ronald Jackson - 11 years of service in DisasterManagement.Mr. Dale Lake - 10 years of servicein Disaster Management.Mr. Cecil Jeffery - 10 years ofservice in DisasterManagement.Mr. Jasen Penn - 12 years of service in DisasterManagement.Ms. Andria Grosvenor - 16 years ofservice in Disaster Management.Ms. Sharleen DaBreo - 17 years of servicein Disaster ManagementMr. Jerry Collymore- 20 years of servicein Regional DisasterManagementMr. Elton Georges - 22 Years of service in NationalDisaster ManagementMs. Judy Thomas - 28 Yearsof service in RegionalDisaster ManagementMs Evangeline Innis - 20Years of service in RegionalDisaster ManagementMr. Carl Herbert - 16Years of service in NationalDisaster ManagementCDEMAThe Caribbean DisasterEmergency Management Agency


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