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NEMA held successful 2014 Bahamas Knowledge Exchange
By Lindsay Thompson, BIS
Sep 28, 2014 - 9:50:06 PM

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The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) held the 2014 National Bahamas Knowledge Exchange from September 23 to 25, at the Meliá Nassau Beach Resort on Cable Beach. Pictured amongst participants are Acting Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis; Lisa Johnson, Charge’ d’ Affaires, the United States Embassy; Captain Stephen Russell, Director, NEMA; Dr. Erin Hughey, Director of Disaster Services, Pacific Disaster Center, Hawaii; J B Smith, USNORTHCOM; and CDR Samuel Wartell, Senior Defense Attaché, US Embassy. (BIS Photo/Kris Ingraham)

NASSAU, The Bahamas -- The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, was pleased to host the 2014 National Bahamas Knowledge Exchange, which turned out to be a success.

Captain Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA thanked partners -- the USNORTHCOM and the Pacific Disaster Centre -- for sponsoring and facilitating the workshop for Local Government Family Island Administrators, Chief Councilors and other officials. The conference was held under the theme: “Be Disaster Aware! Building Disaster Resilient Communities”.
 
The purpose of the conference was to give the newly-elected Family Island officials an overview of the concept of disaster management and mitigation, particularly in their respective islands of in the Northern and Central Bahamas namely Abaco, Andros, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Grand Bahama, New Providence, Exuma and Eleuthera.

Another objective was to reacquaint participants with the various types of hazards and identify the vulnerable areas and how to identify the mitigation plans to tackle those situations.

“It is my view that the conference achieved the set objectives and participants were enriched with the knowledge exchanged, which will serve as a true capacity building mechanism,” said Captain Russell.

He also noted that the participants benefited from the remarks made by the Acting Prime Minister the Hon. Philip Davis during the opening ceremony; he recently represented The Bahamas at the Small Island Developing States conference held in Samoa.

Mr. Davis stressed the importance and timeliness of the conference, which provided an opportunity for participants to review activities prior to, during, and in the aftermath of disasters, to learn best practices – all with a view of building disaster resilient communities.

The closing session was addressed by the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister, fresh from the United Nations General Assembly where he delivered a message on Climate Change.

***image3***The Prime Minister challenged the Family Island representatives to know what the vulnerable areas are in their respective communities and help to bring about this paradigm shift, which is needed in the mitigation efforts against disasters.

“It is our desire that those who return to their districts would reconnect with their communities with a view of strengthening their tasks of building more disaster resilient communities,” Captain Russell said.

The Knowledge Exchange also highlighted important issues such as disaster management, emergency operations, financial procedures in disaster recovery, geographical information systems, and working with the media.
Presentations included: “Effective Disaster Management” by NEMA Operations Officer Gayle Outten-Moncur and Dr. Erin Hughey, Pacific Disaster Center Director of Disaster Services; “Lessons Learned: Typhoon Haiyan,” Dr. Hughey;  “Hurricane Iselle,” Mr. Michael Chatman, PDC;  “The Current Status of Ebola” presented by Dr. Gerry Eijkemans, Pan American Health Organization; an “Overview of NEMA” presented by Captain Russell; and other related topics.

The conference was funded by the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM). It was the fourth event held to provide an interactive environment in which professionals from the United States and The Bahamas could exchange ideas and information related to effective disaster management programmes and techniques.

Participants were issued certificates at the end of the 2014 National Bahamas Knowledge Exchange.
NEMA---photo-1.jpg
The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) held the 2014 National Bahamas Knowledge Exchange from September 23 to 25, at the Meliá Nassau Beach Resort on Cable Beach. Pictured from left are: CDR Samuel Wartell, Senior Defense Attaché, US Embassy; Captain Stephen Russell, Director, NEMA; the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Prime Minister; Dr. Erin Hughey, Director of Disaster Services, Pacific Disaster Center, Hawaii, and J B Smith, USNORTHCOM. (BIS Photo/Peter Ramsay)



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