CDEMA ‘well stocked’ with supplies

Caribbean countries are stockpiling recovery supplies as the region prepares for a predicted active hurricane season and persistent disruption in the supply chain of goods and products.

Four days into the hurricane season executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Elizabeth Riley, assured the region that mitigation measures were in place as the agency coordinated the response to possible calamity.

Riley this week outlined plans to tackle the recovery effort in the event of a natural disaster, explaining that the agency had increased its storage of items necessary for the early recovery effort. She pointed out that at the national level individual countries had also ensured they were well stocked on recovery supplies. 

She made the comment during a virtual press briefing from St Kitts-Nevis.

“There are specific mitigation measures that have been put in place at the national level. These arrangements are usually made at the level of the private sector to ensure that there are minimum quantities of stock always on island during the hurricane season.

“This is an important public-private partnership across the CDEMA participating states to ensure that there are adequate food supplies to treat to the requirements of the population,” Riley said.

 She added: “In addition, as it relates to non-food items, the CDEMA system maintains sub-regional warehouses in four of our participating states. There is one in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Antigua and Jamaica.

“Many of our partners maintain stock, sometimes co-located in the sub-regional warehouses, and at the national level there are also stocks that are maintained. There is an initial arrangement to ensure that stocks are immediately provided to countries in need.”

The CDEMA director noted that above all, the region could continue to count on the spirit of cooperation, which served the Caribbean through some of its darkest moments in history.

“One of the beautiful things about the regional arrangement is that we always assist each other and we have seen this work in a very positive way even in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when we were at the height of the challenges with supply chains,” Riley explained.

Riley pointed out that while much focus was being placed on climatological disasters due to the start of the Atlantic hurricane season this month, people must be reminded that the region was susceptible to multiple hazards. She also stressed that beyond the preparation of Caribbean governments and its relevant agencies, the onus was on individuals to ensure that they were prepared.

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