08 February 2019 -- Public officials in Trinidad and Tobago have acquired new technical skills in the use and application of the Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) methodology, following a workshop from 6-8 February 2019, conducted by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) subregional headquarters for the Caribbean.
With the Ministry of Planning and Development as co-host, participants were drawn from several national entities, including the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA), the Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society, the Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission, and other partner Ministries involved in disaster response and management in Trinidad and Tobago.
Delivering opening remarks on behalf of ECLAC Caribbean was Deputy Director, Dr. Dillon Alleyne, who underscored the organization’s experience in disaster assessment. “ECLAC’s experience in this area to date has fully convinced us that in order to understand and reduce the risk of future disasters, as a region we need to evaluate the effects and impacts of past disasters, regardless of their magnitude. Large disasters showcase how they can setback previous social, economic and environmental gains, and remind us of our vulnerabilities. However, small and frequent disasters usually go unnoticed and unreported. We should nevertheless not forget the pressure that they put on public finances, and their cumulative effects on poverty and inequality. The systematic assessment of disasters is crucial and highlights the importance of measuring the effects of these events and collecting relevant data,” he said.
As is customary of the DaLA training sessions, the workshop included an overview of the DaLA methodology, as well as a detailed explanation of its usage to assess damage, losses and additional costs in the housing, telecommunication, health, education and transportation sectors. The course also presented materials on planning for resilience, shared experiences on how DaLA missions are organized and discussed different ways that public agencies can utilize the information gathered in the reports to formulate disaster risk reduction and management policies.
In acknowledging the potential value of the training to Trinidad and Tobago, Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Planning and Development, Marie Hinds, noted that the session will serve the country’s Vision 2030’s need to enhance policy making and resource allocation through the development of a system to quantify the impacts of national disasters in Trinidad and Tobago. “This information will aid in evidence-based decision making regarding our disaster preparedness and response, helping our disaster support resources to always be at a level of preparedness to reduce the possibility of the October 2018 situation ever being repeated,” stated Hinds.
Workshop participants expressed keen interest in learning how to apply the various methodologies, as well as in engaging with other international organizations with a view to enhancing their organizational preparedness to undertake such analyses in the future.
ECLAC Caribbean’s team included Dr. Omar Bello, Coordinator of the Sustainable Development and Disaster Unit, Willard Phillips, Economic Affairs Officer, Luciana Fontes de Meira, Associate Environment Officer and Blaine Marcano, Public Information Assistant.
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