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Second Connexional Workshop on Disaster Preparedness

The second MCCA/ UMCOR Workshop on Disaster Preparedness and Response Training took place (March 9 - 11, 2012) in Barbados. The venue was the Barbados Workers' Union Labour College, Mangrove, St Philip. The nineteen (19) participants were drawn from three MCCA Districts - South Caribbean (8), Leeward Islands (6) and Guyana (5). UMCOR staff include Ms Melissa Crutchfield (New York), Ms Rebecca Dobbins (New York) and Rev. Juan Vera Mendez (Puerto Rico).  The Connexional Office was represented by the President, Rev. Dr George Mulrain.

Welcome to Barbados was extended by Rev. Roslyn Harper-Johnson, minister in the James Street/ Speightstown Circuit and Mr Shernnel Thompson, South Caribbean District Administrator on behalf of Rev. Cuthbert Edwards, District President.

In his message to participants, Rev. Dr George Mulrain, Connexional President explained that the three workshops grew out of a 2010 questionnaire on Disaster Preparedness that was circulated to all eight District Presidents. In 2011, following the response to that questionnaire, he met with UMCOR representatives Rev. Thomas Hazelwood and Rev. Juan Vera Mendez to map out a route whereby UMCOR and MCCA might work together for the good of the people within the Caribbean and the Americas. A plan to hold three workshops was presented to the Connexional Council at its Roatan, Honduras meeting in May 2011. Council gave its approval for the workshops to be held - first for Jamaica and the Bahamas/ Turks and Caicos Islands, second for the Leeward Islands, South Caribbean and Guyana, and the third for Panama/ Costa Rica and Belize/Honduras.

These seminars address various aspects of disaster preparedness and response: minimum standards in humanitarian response; humanitarian code of conduct; types, phases and levels of disasters; physical, social and psycho-social care; use of material resources and volunteers in disaster response; developing a plan of action relevant for the local context.

The intention is that upont their return to various circuits, participants at the seminar will share ideas and practical suggestions emanating from the workshop. The overall aim is that there will be within the MCCA a culture of disaster preparedness so that whatever the disaster - hurricane, flood, earthquake, volcano - the people might be will equipped to deal with it.  

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