Government of Trinidad and Tobago
Facebook Twitter YoutubeInstagram

You are here

Home » Plan & Prepare » National Policies

Relief Policy


Natural and human-induced hazards have caused devastating loss of life or injury, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation. This National Disaster Relief Policy outlines the measures that will be implemented by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to undertake relief activities in the aftermath of a disaster. The Policy identifies relief acquisition, beneficiary identification, distribution and the overall strategy for achieving these objectives.
The project to develop a National Disaster Relief Policy for Trinidad and Tobago was identified as a need by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management (ODPM) of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago, and supported by the European Union under the European Union’s 9th EDF Programme for “Trinidad and Tobago”. Technical Assistance to the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management was provided under Framework Contract Beneficiaries 2009 - Lot 6 – Environment.
Specific Contract N° 2010/234625.

The ability of a country to provide relief after the impact of a hazard depends on its capacity for implementing an integrated multi-sectoral approach to the management of relief, through the stages acquisition, storage, distribution and accounting.
A high percentage of Trinidad and Tobago’s population lives in areas, which are vulnerable to hazards of all types. These include floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, earthquakes, landslides, technological/chemical and other man-made hazards. 
The overall policy of the Government of Trinidad and Tobago is therefore to provide emergency relief to the needy population within time span of 24-72 hours of impact based on the level of the event. This is carried out within the wider context of the country’s national disaster management programme coordinated by the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Management. 

Rationale and Purpose of Policy
The Policy seeks to facilitate an integrated approach to relief management in the twin island state.  It advocates standards for implementing the rapid delivery of relief supplies to address the needs of the affected population in the aftermath of a disaster.

Policy Goal
To undertake fast and effective relief to persons adversely impacted by a disaster event.

Policy Objectives
The objectives of the relief policy are:

  • to ensure that those most in need are the first to receive;
  • to encourage the rehabilitation of those affected so that they can return to a state of normalcy as soon as possible;
  • to ensure that shelters are systematically provided and maintained with sufficient relief supplies;
  • to  establish standards for external relief supplies;
  • to establish procedures for rotating of relief supplies held in warehouses
  • to establish the ODPM as the sole agency for the coordination and verification of relief items;
  • to ensure that relief distribution is based on the completion and submission of Initial Damage Assessment reports;
  • to link the delivery of relief supplies to the declared level of the event ( 24 hours for level 1 event, 48 hours for level 2 and 72 hours for level 3 event);
  • to identify the Trinidad National Red Cross Society as a primary first responder.

Policy Strategy
The policy is developed on the basis that a severe disaster can greatly undermine the capacity of the population to cope utilizing their own resources.  Under such circumstances, to ensure the continuity of government, business and social activities with the concurrent lessening in social tension, the government is committed to ensuring that all the necessary relief materials are in place and distributed in an impartial manner. 
The Policy as articulated therefore relies on an integrated approach to be successfully executed and will require the support of all stakeholders to undertake their assigned tasks in guiding its implementation.

Priority Areas for Action

  1. Strengthen the capacity of communities and Regional/Municipal Corporations for IDA and DANA.
  2. Undertake community vulnerability assessments to determine population characteristics, including special needs.
  3. Identify areas in communities that are likely to be isolated so as to pre-position relief supplies.
  4. Establish Memoranda of Agreement with suppliers to ensure a ready supply of relief items when needed.
  5. Establish role and responsibilities for all relief agencies.
  6. Establish criteria for emergency relief assistance.
  7. Establish warehousing capabilities in Regional/Municipal Corporations.

Hazard Maps         Emergency Contacts