Lesser Antilles stakeholders meet in Montserrat to discuss volcanic risk contingency planning

Source(s): Montserrat Volcano Observatory British Red Cross

A group of 22 participants met last week in Montserrat to discuss volcanic risk and volcanic contingency planning in the Lesser Antilles.

The event was organized by the Montserrat Volcano Observatory and the Montserrat Red Cross. This meeting gathered 22 stakeholders representing 15 regional and local institutions, including

- National and regional disaster management agencies (DMCA , ODM, NEMO and CDEMA )
- A broad international representation of the movement of the Red Cross (Montserrat Red Cross, French Red Cross, Red Cross Dominica, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Red Cross, and the International Federation of the Red Cross).
- Scientific institutions (Montserrat Volcano Observatory and the Seismic Research Center of the University of the West Indies)
- The United Nations Development Program (UNDP)
- The French Inter-Ministerial for the Antilles Estate Major Zone (EMIZA)
- Local stakeholders and community members

The objective of the meeting was to share guidelines and recommendations drawn by Montserrat that could be applied at different levels in the Lesser Antilles countries and territories affected by volcanic and associated risks. Three territories are special partners in the project:

- Montserrat, which presents the largest experience of a volcanic eruption in the last 19 years with the eruption of the Soufriere Hill volcano;
- Dominica that presents the experience of managing risks in a territory dotted with 9 volcanos,
- and St. Vincent & the Grenadines that also experienced a major volcanic eruption in 1979.

The meeting led to interesting reflections on how a proper contingency planning can make a difference allowing saving lives in case of a catastrophic event such as the violent volcanic eruptions that can be produced by the volcanoes of the Lesser Antilles.

The regional head of civil protection and defense for French territories in the Caribbean, Mr. Denis Lopez, stressed that "to draw a contingency plan means to establish a common language, a common understanding of the assistance process. It will be a key point to face during the aftermath of a future disaster".

The meeting in Montserrat was the second event of the kind. The first think tank meeting on volcanic risk reduction strategies was held in Dominica and was hosted by Red Cross in October 2013. It focused on reviewing existing educational and informational materials as well as public awareness and early warning systems.

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Hazards Volcano
Country and region Montserrat
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