Trinityville farmers & residents now trained to be “Disaster Ready”

Mrs. Sophia Mitchell (left), ODPEM’s Regional Coordinator for the Eastern Region addresses students during the Disaster Risk Management Training sessions for Trinityville farmers and residents which took place from August 18- 30 at the Trinityville Primary School. (Photo credit: Linden Holness)


As successive Atlantic storm features emerge off the coast of Cape Verde, and head towards the Caribbean, 48 farmers and residents from 12 communities in St. Thomas have already benefitted from a four-day Disaster Risk Management Training course, structured to increase their knowledge and management of disaster risks.

The course was held at the Trinityville Primary School, from August 18 to 30, under the theme: “Be Disaster Ready, Build Community Resilience.”

Participants included residents from the communities of Hillside, Danvers Pen, Fonthill, Georgia, Baileys Piece, Mofatt, Jones Pen, Mt. Vernon, Mt. Lebanus, Spring Piece and Somerset. Training was conducted by facilitators from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) and the St. Thomas Municipal Corporation. 

Our objective was to define disaster, risk, hazards, and vulnerability,” Kristen Rhone, ODPEM training officer, who conducted the Basic Disaster Management training on day one, stated. “We also identified types of disasters; and explained how to be prepared for them.”

Days two and three focused on Shelters and Shelter Management, which explored the standards of a shelter, vulnerability, risks and hazards. This was led by Sophia Mitchell, ODPEM Regional Coordinator and Martina Medley, Parish Disaster Coordinator at the St. Thomas Municipal Corporation.

We encouraged participants to identify hazards, risks and vulnerabilities and explained some of the actions they should take as well as, we reinforced some specific actions needed in such instances,” said Ms Medley, Parish Disaster Coordinator at the St. Thomas Municipal Corporation.  

Day four focused on Initial Damage Assessment and the appropriate methodologies to record data. Additional training will be conducted in this area, leading to formal certification of the participants.

Sophia Mitchell said that participants welcomed the opportunity to benefit from all the major topics that were discussed.

We organised the training in different learning teams to match the 12 districts in Trinityville Development Area and used practical activities to help farmers and residents to grasp the information. And, we were totally inspired by the level of response to the content of the training sessionsIn addition, we encouraged everyone to ‘become best friends,’ as they worked together to manage the natural hazards that plague their communities,” she related.

The training team was also sensitive to the participation of women and therefore provided ‘sitters’ to care for their children, while they attended the workshop sessions. That facility definitely encouraged the participation of more women,” Ms. Mitchell stated.

Funding for the Disaster Ready training sessions was provided by the Community Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (CDRRF), a multi-donor trust fund established and managed by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The purpose of CDRRF is to provide grant funding for disaster risk reduction and/or climate change adaptation initiatives at the community level in CDB Borrowing Member Countries.

Resources for the Fund have been provided by: a) The Government of Canada acting through Global Affairs Canada, b) the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Island acting through its Department for International Development and the European Union (EU) through resources provided to CDB under the ACP-EU-CDB Natural Disaster Risk Management in CARIFORUM Project.