Recommendations for a Hazard Mitigation Committee to enhance and promote effective multi-hazard mitigation planning amongst all levels of Government will soon be taken to Cabinet.

Acting Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs, Michael Lashley, made these comments on Friday at the launch of the Caribbean Tsunami and Information Centre (CTIC) at Hilton Barbados.

Making reference to disasters that devastated Grenada, Guyana, Dominica, Haiti, Jamaica, and the Bahamas, resulting in significant losses, he warned that with the prevailing economic climate, Barbados??? developmental gains could also be erased by a catastrophic event.

???It is, therefore, imperative that we put strategies in place to safeguard our way of life,??? he stated.

Mr. Lashley added that one such approach was Hazard Mitigation Planning which provides the mechanism for the strategic reduction of the scale of severity of these impacts.

To achieve this, he explained that the Committee would work in partnership with non-governmental organisations, and public and private stakeholders. It is expected to advance a shared vision for measured reduction in risk to the citizens of Barbados and their assets.

The Minister pointed out that the Committee would focus on all hazards, including natural, environmental and technological. ???The work of the Committee would, therefore, allow for a more proactive approach to disaster management and will facilitate the integration of hazard mitigation into all policies, programmes and plans and ongoing activities at the national level,??? he said.

He noted that mitigation measures would include prevention measures such as planning and zoning, land regulations, building codes and storm water management. In addition, issues of property protection measures such as relocation, storm shutters, building barriers, flood-proofing, insurance and structural retrofits for high wind and earthquake hazards would also be addressed.

Public education and awareness measures will also form part of the mitigation process; natural resource protection measures such as erosion and sediment control; emergency services measures including health and safety maintenance and protection of critical facilities and structural projects such as seawalls, bulkheads, revetments, retaining walls and retrofitting buildings.

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