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May 20, 2014

Belize Red Cross hosts regional contingency planning workshop

The Belize Red Cross is hosting a regional contingency planning workshop with representatives from CARICOM nations as well as international partner societies in the US, Norway and France. The two-day workshop is held annually prior to the hurricane season and is done to strategically plan and produce a document that is presented to respective governments in preparation for disasters. For the first time in ten years the regional conference is being held in Belize and regional experts and on the ground personnel gathered today at the Ramada Belize City Princess. Director General of the Belize Chapter of the Red Cross, Lily Bowman, spoke today about the event that is used to support national and international response when disaster strikes.

 

Lily Bowman, Director General, Belize Red Cross

Lily Bowman

“The contingency planning is a document that we will put together as a movement to be able to guide us and give us direction when we are responding to the needs of our people in emergencies. You know the hurricane season starts soon—we call it disaster season—it starts next month. So this is what we do every year to prepare. We bring all our national societies together; they do it in other regions for the different other zone areas of the movement.  In this meeting, we will be sharing ideas, sharing good practices, experiences, lessons learnt. From those lessons learnt, we will be doing improvement to the tools and approaches that we use when we go into our communities to serve them in their time of need, especially when they have been affected by disasters. It is so easy for us to come together as a region because we identify with one another. The challenges across the board are mostly the same. Apart from some language barriers, because we do include Cuba, Dominican Republic and Haiti, we are practically experiencing some of the same challenges. Of course one of the biggest challenges is that of resource mobilization in the region; it is becoming a lot scarce. We have to depend a lot on those partner national societies that can assist us smaller national societies to develop as an organization and to be able to reach further within our communities.”

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