International Strategy for Disaster Reduction
Latin America and the Caribbean   

Newsletter ISDR Inform - Latin America and the Caribbean
Issue: 13/2006- 12/2006 - 11/2005 - 10/2005 - 9/2004 - 8/2003 - 7/2003 - 6/2002 - 5/2002 - 4/2001- 3/2001

Partners in Action


Forewarned, Forearmed, Forever
Caribbean Disaster Readiness Manual

Perhaps this is all best summed up in this mission statement for
the CDRM manual:

Our mission is to provide essential information to the public on how best to equip themselves in a time of crisis. While the Caribbean Region continues to attract major foreign investors, the danger of rapid development coupled with inadequate infrastructures, is a serious one. It is a fact that in every developing country there is an outburst effect of human-driven climate change, environmental degradation, drought, fire, declining soil fertility and population pressure. Many regional and International Private Sector companies have foresighted this problem and are concerned about the lives of individuals.

We the members of the private sector are committed to producing The Caribbean Disaster Readiness manual each year to provide the sort of information required to save lives in the event that such a catastrophe should occur.

Seven years ago, Sun Marketing Inc. began to wield with maximum force its most powerful weapon against natural, technological and environmental disasters. The weapon? Information. The arsenal? A manual bound for the hands of the people of the region, to bring them to a state of total preparedness in the face of natural disasters.

The drive to bring this manual to the people for free was an idea whose time had come, and private sector companies were quick to join the project. Companies like NEMWIL Insurance Co.Ltd, The Quaker Oats company (distributor), Western Union Latin America/Caribbean (distributor), Nestle Caribbean Inc., Caroni Ltd., British American Life Insurance, Naco Caribbean Ltd., the Co-operative of Citrus Growers, IBWIL Insurance Broker West Indies Ltd., and United Insurance Ltd. understood that making disaster readiness a part of the regional psyche was long overdue.

Under the auspices of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), and with the collaboration of Sun Marketing CEO A.A. Bagalue, the Caribbean Disaster Readiness Manual is now an annual publication, the most comprehensive of its kind in the Caribbean. It includes information on how to prepare for natural disasters and how to develop evacuation plans, as well as shelter information, supply lists, insurance plans, foods and recipes, children and animal preparedness techniques, the disaster resistant building system called Force 10, and a guide to making homes hurricane resistant. Also included are lists of active volcanoes, stories of recent disasters, and lessons learned from them. Everything you need to know to be prepared before, during and after a disaster is provided in an easy to read, memorable format.

But the information arsenal does not stop with the Caribbean Disaster Readiness Manual. It now forms part of a complete information package that spans a variety of media and targets all sectors and age groups of Caribbean society. Close on the heels of the manual’s success came the Web site, It is the Caribbean online source for readiness information, environmental updates, international trends, and more. The site not only helps to educate the people of the region on every aspect of preparedness and response, but also gives the rest of the world an understanding of the Caribbean environmental situation. Foreign investors, ecotourists, and weather trackers are only three of the many diverse publics that can find the information they need in these Web pages.

This year will also see the launch of the Caribbean Disaster Readiness CD-ROM, which will be sponsored by IBWIL Insurance Brokers W.I. Ltd. The CD targets primary school students, and will be available to them free of charge. In addition to providing essential information on disaster reduction in a fresh way, it will include live links to prominent emergency readiness sites on the Internet, and will be available in Spanish, English and French to ensure region-wide applicability. With contributions from the movers and shakers in the region, the disk will be presented in an Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (pdf) read-only format, as well as in browser-ready HTML format, targeting the young minds of the region in a medium to which they are rapidly becoming accustomed.

As this plan by ISDR, CRID, CDERA, CARDIN and CDRM to forewarn and forearm the people of the region unfolds, a broader sense of responsibility is being promoted. Accelerated industrialization, the growth of foreign investment, and all the other advancements of the last decade of the 20th century came with an environmental price tag, and still do. Choices for regional development must be made responsibly, to guarantee a healthy, disaster free environment. The alert is being sent out: if economic progress is made to the detriment of the environment, then the environment may very well erase economic progress.

For more information, please contact:
Anthony Bagalue