NASSAU, The Bahamas – The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), recently augmented its local and regional communications systems following the receipt of an $8,000 grant from the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) via the CDEMA Coordinating Unit, based in Bridgetown, Barbados.
The Coordinating Unit received the grant funding from the European Union under CDEMA’s Partnership Programme entitled: “Strengthening the Capacity of the CDEMA Participating States and Coordinating Unit for the Implementation of Comprehensive Disaster Management.” The Bahamas is one of 19 Participating States under the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency.
(CDEMA is the regional inter-governmental Agency that falls directly under the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) with primary responsibility for the coordination of emergency response and relief efforts to Participating States that require such assistance. The responsibilities, and operational functions of the Coordinating Unit, centre on four programming areas: education, research and information; finance and administration; preparedness and response, and mitigation and research.)
Working in collaboration with Marine Technology, NEMA was able to boost its HF Radio communication system thereby enabling the Agency to communicate with the Coordinating Unit in Bridgetown “at full strength.” A portion of the funding was also used to purchase additional VHF Hand-Held Radios that will further enhance Family Island operations within the archipelago.
“Our aim with the HF Radio System is to further strengthen the links between CDEMA’s Participating States in the Northwest Focal Point Region – Jamaica, Turks and Caicos, Haiti, Belize, The Bahamas and the Cayman Islands,” Captain Stephen Russell, Director, National Emergency Management Agency said.
“It is essential that we are able to maintain connectivity among Participating States during times of emergencies or disasters. The HF Radio provides that additional redundancy in the communication link among regional partners. The purchase of the additional VHF Hand-Held radios will further support communications between the Command Centres, shelter operations, ground transportation and logistics in the Family Islands.”
Captain Russell said NEMA had submitted a series of requests to CDEMA for project funding under the Country Directed Fund (CDF) facility. The Agency obtained approval for three projects, the first of which has now been implemented as a result of the grant.
“In an archipelagic state such as The Bahamas, and as a part of the regional network, the timely and accurate sharing of information, prior to, during, and in the aftermath of a disaster is essential,” Captain Russell said. “The communications upgrade and support through the CDEMA Country Directed Fund project aims to strengthen The Bahamas’ capability at the local and regional levels.”
Captain Russell continued to promote Hurricane Preparedness throughout The Bahamas.
“NEMA continues to urge the public to finalize their hurricane preparedness plans as we approach the peak of the Hurricane Season. Additionally, the Agency encourages all persons to continue to adhere to the health and safety protocols (established by the Ministry of Health to limit the community spread of COVID-19) as we move about with our preparedness measures and other activities.”