European Volunteers for Response of Emergencies in the Caribbean

All people live on the same planet

“All people live on the same planet”  and in emergency there are not borders
for solidarity, tells us Victoria, a  (National Disaster Management Agency) NADMA’s staff lady                                                                                                  just before greet all of us with a warmest hug.

Those words sounds on our heads returning to the hotel,
meanwhile a wonderful sunset remarks the end of our stay on the spice

Why people becomes volunteer?

The answer, as volunteers ourselves, it
would seem simple, but it isn’t at all.
Lots of reasons pushing a man, a woman, young people to devote part of
their lives to the others, to the community and especially to strange people…                                                                                                          “all people live on the same planet”, as Victoria said.

A Mike Meranski’s song about Grenada, titled “That’s Ivan” says ”                                                                                                                                  “it took houses old

goodbye Grenada, we’ll miss you!

Saturday morning was a kind of sad morning, when we realized, that it was really our departure-day from Grenada. It was a wonderful and great experience for the whole EVRECA-Assessment-Team. We came as strangers and left as friends. The beauty of the various landscapes as well as the warm-hearted encounters with local peoplemade a deep impression on our team again and again. We were able to do a lot and even if our working days were really long, this last day yesterday came far too early. Grenada is a nation with many needs in regard to disaster management and disaster risk reduction issues. From the first meeting last Monday to the last one yesterday we felt the strong desire of everyone we met to strengthen the local disaster management system. Volunteer management was one of the main issues evidenced by nearly everyone we met, from authorities to the single volunteer. Feeling the big support from various local authorities, especially the team from NaDMA, the challenges could be rather easily changed into opportunities and concrete steps. EU Aid Volunteers to strengthen the volunteering system in Grenada or maybe in the whole Caribbean Region sounds great, doesn’t it? And yes, all of us would love to come back as EU Aid Volunteer one day. But as pictures show much more than words, lets have a look on some impressions of our week in Grenada.


First day, first impressions

First day, first impressions and a really good feeling Our first day of the assessment mission in Grenada is over and I can say that it was a really good and successful day. Two of us – Laura and Davide – reached the team with one day of delay due to problems with cancelled flights from Italy to London. So we can say that the start was somehow bumpy but at the end everything went well. We met our Caribbean friends, partner and most important stakeholder: Mr. Terence Walters and his Team of NaDMA. After a fruitful meeting, where lots of questions came up, we went to a press conference organized by NaDMA about our EU Aid Volunteer pilot project EVRECA. After a little break we went to the headquarter of the Grenadian Red Cross to talk about training needs and their possible role to be a certified hosting organisation for future EU Aid Volunteers missions. We felt a great interest in the EVRECA-project and the meeting was impressive and enjoyable. The last meeting finally brought us to the community of Saint Andrews from Greenville, the second-largest town on the island. We were invited to meet the district team of Saint Andrews South East. And we were overwhelmed by the cordiality and the friendliness we found within the school facilities of Saint Andrews.

The outcome was great and we felt the intention and the desire to develop some results together.
Good first day. And it’s a good feeling to be part of the EU Aid Volunteer Initiative.

Assessment Focus – Upcoming Question

12 days left to departure and this is a good moment for preparing some details for our assessment mission.

The one important and big upcoming question was, if we were perhaps to focussed on met and hydrogeological issues during our pre-deployment training. We all know that civil protection is much bigger and that the week in Rome was too short to touch all related arguments. But we should keep an open mind to all possible faces of civil protection that we can find during our mission and not to be too fixed to met and hydrogeological aspects. The following list is not complete and should be considered as starting points for a discussion.

We should keep an eye on:

– Meteorological and Hydrogeological issues (like hurricanes, landslides, local flood phenomena, etc.)

– Measure the status of risk awareness of official structures, organizations and the population in general

– The local system of facing major catastrophic events in general

– The civil protection communication system (between different offices, organizations and communities)

– Health and general civil protection risks from waste-dumps by affecting the ecosystem (groundwater, tapping riverbeds or air pollution)

All of the above mentioned themes offer in succession different possibilities for Team Bravo and Charlie.

The next step will be the preparation for the different meetings and a kind of checklist for each partner to  meet. And lets never forget that our aim is to meet our friends in Grenada and Barbados in order to develop together solutions that will help to improve the local system of civil protection.

Please feel free to comment and to post your point of view and your suggestions.

Markus (Team Alpha)