The Dominica Association of Local Community Authorities (DALCA) officially handed over equipment worth over US $21, 800 to village councils and the Fire and Ambulance Department on Wednesday April 22nd.
This gesture is phase two of DALCA’s Enhanced Community Capacity and Preparedness Project funded by the Australian Direct Aid Programme. This project seeks to better equip communities to prepare for and respond to disasters.
Chairman of DALCA, Yoland Jno Jules revealed, “Phase one included the generators, chainsaws and emergency equipment for the Fire and Ambulance Services.
Jno Jules says satisfactory management of the equipment donated in the first phase better positioned the association to access more funds for the second.
According to DALCA Treasurer, Ericson Robinson, This project mainly involves procurement of disaster preparedness, mitigation and recovery items to be used across the island as the Direct Aid funds can only be used to procure purposed and specific items in any given project.”
The items will be stationed at the seven district council associations and will be accessed by the neighbouring councils.
In the western district, the items will be stored with the Coulibistrie Village Council; in the north, the items will be with the Vieille Case Village Council; the southern district items will be with the Pichelin Village Council.
In the south-eastern district, they will be stationed with the Laplaine Village Council; for the eastern district, with the Castle Bruce Village Council; for the north-eastern district with the Calibishie Village Council and for the south and south-west, with the Roseau City Council.
DALCA has also partnered with other local agencies including the Office of Disaster Management and the Fire and Ambulance Services to advocate for preparedness and response to disasters as a result of climate change.
National Disaster Coordinator, Don Corriette says while it is impossible to prevent natural disasters, much can be done to reduce their impact. He says the ability to manage is key to national development.
He says DALCA’s plans for disaster management at the community level complement the country work programme of the ODM.
“Under the Comprehensive Disaster Management and Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, we have been articulating, for the past five years or more, the need to empower communities to build resilience. Therefore, we are indeed happy that our partners are continuing the process of being involved in proactive and preemptive action at the community level. We would love to see more of that throughout the country.”
Permanent Secretary in the Ministry for Social Services, Sylvanie Burton, commended DALCA for its foresight which led them to procure the equipment to assist the communities calling their move “a step in the right direction.”
She added, “Councils have to be proactive. You have to plan in advance because you are given one batch of equipment but you have to share. In some districts there are five councils and six or seven in others. We are already in the month of April and if we want to clear our drains and trim our trees then we definitely have to put together a plan of action.”
DALCA’s Chairman says the association is looking forward to procuring even more tools from the Australia Direct Aid Programme to service all village councils on the island.