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ODPM, CDEMA and AUSAID build earthquake capacity in T&T

We must continue to improve our readiness for all hazards to which our country is prone. All agencies, critical facilities and communities must get more involved.” These were the words of the CEO of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management, Dr Stephen Ramroop at the launch of the Earthquake Readiness Capacity Building (ERCB) Workshop. This three day workshop, which was launched on Monday May 02, is being coordinated by the ODPM, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Australian Agency for International Development (AUSAID) and is being conducted through consultation with forty (40) national stakeholders with the aim of improving the country’s earthquake contingency planning.

In delivering remarks on behalf of CDEMA, Dr Virginia Clerveaux, Senior Programme Officer indicated that “this workshop is opportune and visionary as it will highlight the critical importance of building resilience to disaster risk in our cities especially in light of the fact that a large proportion of our critical lifeline facilities and emergency response capabilities are located in urban communities and rural areas.” She continued by stating that “even as we continue to strengthen existing disaster management processes and structures to address the array of hazards to which Trinidad and Tobago and the region is prone, the changing disaster management landscape dictates that we engage in planning for traditional as well as non-traditional, complex and increasingly trans-boundary threats”.

Arturo Portillo- Contreras, Consultant and Workshop Facilitator reminded the representatives from agencies such as Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission, Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago, Water And Sewage Authority, Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago and the Tobago Emergency Management Agency that “there is no official earthquake season, but we should operate as if there is an official earthquake season so that we can place the necessary emphasis on earthquakes. Think of today as the start of the official earthquake season.”

Dr Stephen Ramroop, CEO, ODPM thanked all agencies for their interest and dedication but reminded them that they need to continue building resilience in Trinidad and Tobago. He also reinforced the importance of public education and community outreach as key to minimising the impact of disaster on individuals, communities and country.

At the end of this workshop, it is hoped that the stakeholders from our first responder agencies, critical agencies and nongovernmental organisations will have:-

  1. An increased understanding of the Model Earthquake Contingency Plan;
  2. An appreciation for the earthquake contingency plan amongst national stakeholders;
  3. A more profound understanding of the roles that their respective agencies, organisations and bodies play in earthquake readiness, preparedness, response and recovery.

Since the start of the year, the ODPM has sought to place equal emphasis on all hazards that threaten the people, environment and economy of Trinidad and Tobago. A national exercise, FA-HUM 2011 was recently conducted to test the country’s level of preparedness for a major hazard impact. On April 30, a community-based initiative titled CORE – Communities Organised and Ready for Emergencies – was launched and aims to empower citizens in communities so that they can be better prepared. CORE, along with other projects and initiatives will continue as the ODPM continues to build a culture of safety and resilience in Trinidad and Tobago.



Issued by:-


Public Information, Education and Community Outreach Unit

868 640 1285 ext 14240/


For more information, please contact:


Dike Noel, Public Information Specialist, ODPM

868 640 1285 ext 14240


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