BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, July 25, 2023 (SKNIS) – The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is benefiting from the expertise of Global Support and Development (GSD) in strengthening the nation’s disaster preparedness and response systems.
According to its website, Global Support and Development is a humanitarian non-profit organization whose mission is to rapidly respond to disasters in collaboration with at-risk communities while supporting them to prepare for future disasters.
A team of GSD officials is presently on the island cooperating with officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Nevis Disaster Management Department (NDMD) for two weeks of capacity-strengthening exercises.
These disaster resiliency efforts are being bolstered by the visit of the MV DAWN, a state-of-the-art humanitarian vessel configured to provide humanitarian and disaster support. It is operated by GSD and will support disaster preparedness exercises in the Federation up until August 6, 2023.
Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Honourable Dr. Terrance Drew, addressed the welcoming ceremony today, Thursday, July 25, at the Port Zante Arrival Hall, where he recorded his sincere appreciation to the team at Global Support and Development for assisting the twin-island Federation in this way.
Prime Minister Dr. Drew described this intervention in disaster preparedness as timely, particularly when one considers the changing global climatic conditions and the adverse impacts as a result.
“As we know the planet is going through climate change. It means therefore that as the climate changes the propensity to have severe storms increases significantly. We have been striving to keep the temperature on the planet below 1.5 degrees Celsius as it rises, however, it is very unlikely that we will achieve that in the time that we set out as a world to achieve it. What does that translate into? That translates into the opportunity for greater storms, mainly hurricanes here in St. Kitts and Nevis, and so it is not a matter of if but it is a matter of when,” the prime minister said.
Dr. Drew continued, “The threat is existential and the threat is real and so a collaboration like this with the MV DAWN vessel is extremely important because what they would offer to us is that response that we would need immediately following a storm of such magnitude to save lives and to help us to get back to normalcy as quickly as possible.”
Chief Executive Officer of Global Support and Development, Dr. Michael Court said Caribbean nations know better than most the importance of the relationship with the maritime environment as well as the threat climate change poses for small island states.
He said, “GSD believes that the maritime connection and relationship provides a unique humanitarian support opportunity to island nations. MV DAWN is the manifestation of that belief–a vessel built and specifically configured to support our mission, to support partners, dedicated to that purpose and dedicated to the region. We all hope that the ongoing relationship between GSD and the people of this beautiful country is one that is built and nourished under clear skies of cooperation as we work towards a more resilient future. But even as we do, we do so in preparation for times when the skies are dark and the challenges more urgent.”
The capacity strengthening exercises planned for St. Kitts and Nevis over the next two weeks include establishing a comprehensive baseline bathymetric survey, which will assess the characteristics and profile of the seabed, enhancing the region’s understanding of its maritime infrastructure. This survey will enable data-driven decision-making and pave the way for effective coastal resource management and rapid post-disaster assessments in support of reopening maritime infrastructure.