The CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit, the Regional Security System and national disaster offices have been activated to bring relief to the affected citizens of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Elizabeth Riley, in today’s press briefing explained that, at this time, consignments into country for the general population should be done through the National Emergency Management Organisation in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
“This is important, as you know the national system is coordinated, the welfare, and social welfare related departments are plugged into the National Emergency Operations Centre.
“The reason why that has been done is that there’s a recognition that support has to be provided not only to the persons within the shelters, the 87 shelters that are mentioned, but also to persons who are housed with friends. Secondly, there is then an additional call upon those families to provide for the persons who are staying with them, and the government fully recognises the requirement to provide some support in that regard.”
Ms. Riley urged persons to utilise the official organisations when donating items to be used in the relief kits. “Once you stick within the coordination mechanisms, the contributions and donations will get to the persons who need them most.
“Receipt of items for individuals is not encouraged because right now, the country is looking at the receipt of bulk donations, which will then be packaged and distributed to those in need,” she said.
In terms of security within the island, she disclosed: “We have been coordinating with the RSS through their Executive Director Captain Shurland, and he remains in very close contact with the Chief of Police in St Vincent and the Grenadines. Any security related issues are escalated to that level, and any requirements for search support to assist the police force on the ground will be channelled through the RSS.”