The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)’s fifth edition of SYNERGY was a success. It was held in May 2023 just before the start of the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season. The flagship regional exercise tests the readiness and coordination of partners within the Regional Response Mechanism (RRR). The event is a valuable opportunity to test the region’s resilience against the many hazards that countries in the Caribbean face.
Deputy Executive Director of CDEMA, Lt. Col. Kester Craig made several poignant remarks during the opening ceremony for the exercise. He said that in order to respond effectively to impacted states, coordination needs to be strengthened. Additionally, he stressed that key players must come to a working agreement before a disaster event. The Deputy Executive Director also asked the 40 partners who attended the exercise to be prepared for multiple hazard impacts.
He also reminded attendees that the Caribbean has been feeling the effects of climate change in the form of more frequent and intense hurricanes. And, in recent years storms have formed before the start and after the end of the June 01 – November 30 season. Lt Col Craig added that these are new norms which further highlight the need for comprehensive disaster management which includes effective preparedness and response.
Financial support for SYNERGY 2023 came from Global Affairs Canada. This is the third year that CDEMA has received sponsorship for the event through the Targeted Support to CDEMA Project. Natalie Hutchinson, Senior International Assistance Officer at Global Affairs Canada explained the importance of Synergy. She described it as a valuable exercise which gives us a chance to learn how we work together.
This year’s SYNERGY presented a scenario where there was a high-magnitude earthquake followed by a weather system. The challenge for partners was to consider factors such as damaged buildings and infrastructure, assess the scenario and discuss possible plans of action. The responses and findings will be used in the annual update and review of the Regional Coordination Plan.
For more information about SYNERGY and CDEMA, please contact:
Mr. Keith Goddard
Communication and Public Relations Specialist
Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA)
Resilience Way, Lower Estate
Tel #: (246) 434-4880 | Fax #: (246) 271-3660