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Emergency Services

Area of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief Sub- Regional Office Barbados
2009-06-30 00:31:57

About us


  • Sub- Regional Disaster Reduction Advisor- Ms. Monica Zaccarelli-Davoli
  • Short Term Professional - Eng. Hugo Martinez
  • Administrative Assistant- Ms. Andrea Branch

Who We Serve

The PAHO Sub-Regional Disaster Office in Barbados serves 29 countries and/or territories: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos, French Departments, Aruba and the Dutch Antilles, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic and Suriname. There is a special arrangement with Cuba and Haiti.

In accordance with the regional mandate, this office seeks to improve the health and wellbeing of the entire population of the sub-region through support to health sector disaster programs in the Ministries of Health..There is also ongoing cooperation with the National Offices for Disaster. We also collaborate with entities such as the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Relief Agency (CDERA), the national and international Red Cross, health NGOs and bilateral institutions.

Area of Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief

Disaster reduction, as reflected in the Millennium Development Goals, is internationally recognized as integral to improving health for all. Regionally, one important function of the health sector, as outlined in Essential Public Health Function 11 is to put systems and programs in place to reduce the impact of emergencies and disasters on health. International and intersectoral collaboration is needed to reduce the region’s vulnerability to disasters.

The current five-year plan for the Emergency Preparedness and Disaster Relief (2003-2007) highlights disaster preparedness, management and response as priorities in reducing the region's vulnerability to disaster.

Overall Goal

To reduce the health and social impact of natural, technological and/or man made disasters on the countries of the Americas.


To lessen the impact of disasters on the population of the Americas by improving the ability of the health sector to prepare for and respond to all types of emergencies and reduce risk from disasters.

PAHO Expected Results/Outputs

  • The heath sector in Latin America and the Caribbean is better prepared to respond to the health consequences of natural, man-made and technological disasters.
  • Health sector agencies responsible for reducing the structural and functional vulnerability of health services and water system infrastructure have the necessary awareness, materials, knowledge and skills to reduce vulnerability to natural hazards.
  • A health sector in Latin America and the Caribbean that effectively manages the health response to disasters in a transparent and accountable manner.

Priority Areas

  • Disaster Preparedness
  • Technical areas of work to support these objectives include information management, hospital disaster preparedness, mass casualty management, evaluation of damage and needs, and humanitarian supply management.

Risk Reduction

  • Three areas have been targeted for particular attention – hospital infrastructure, water and sewerage systems.
  • Ministries of Health have been encouraged to implement programs to change perceptions of communities to disaster prevention. Countries are also provided with technical assistance to assess vulnerabilities of exisiting health facilities and make recommendations on disaster mitigation measures to keep them operational. Appropriate information and technology to reduce vulnerability to disasters are also promoted in building new health facilities.
  • Disaster Response

    Disaster response is facilitated at the levels of:

    • Calling on trained personnel, staff members and regional public health specialists In disaster situations to survey damage to and conduct needs assessments of the health sector.
    • Providing technical support in epidemiological surveillance, monitoring of water quality and leadership in the disaster response.
    • Mobilizing logistical experts to manage health supplies and other resources to meet high priority health needs of the affected population.


    Current Initiatives


    Ongoing discussion with regional partners, ministries of health and national disaster offices to promote

    • risk reduction programs in the ministry of health
    • creation of a culture of disaster risk reduction in local communities, government agencies and other organisations.

    Training and Capacity Building

    • Health disaster regional meetings
    • International Course for Managers on Health, Disasters and Development
    • Capacity building workshops in each country - MCM, ECAT, ICS, LSS.
    • Disaster Management Module as part of the masters in public health at UWI, Jamaica

    Technical Advice

    • Safe hospitals - ongoing evaluation of health facilities in the region, followed by recommendations to reduce vulnerability to disasters such as hurricanes.
    • Pandemic influenza support
      • assist in the elaboration of the National Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plans (NIPPP)
      • rapid response team training in country
      • support of simulation drills to allow countries to test the plans.

    Information Services

    • Establishment of an Emergency Operation Centre-Caribbean (EOC_CAR), Initially activated during Cricket World Cup 2007 and more recently during Hurricane Dean in mid-August 2007, EOC-CAR provided situational reports on epidemiology, preparedness activities, public health issues addressed in the media and weather throughout the tournament.
    • Provision of manuals on topics relevant to disaster preparedness, mitigation and response.
    • Maintenance of a database of trained public health specialists in the region who can provide technical advice during disaster events.

    Future Initiatives

    • Continuation of the activities as outlined above
    • Partnerships to Safeguard Health with
      • Academic institutions
      • Financial institutions
      • CARICOM bodies
    • Develop projects for the incorporation of 'risk reduction' into the health sector through activities such as support to the ministries of health in developing emergency operation centres and elaboration of health sector plans that promote disaster reduction.
    • Encourage research in all areas of disaster management, be instrumental in making knowledge resources available, and endorse their use in the health sector for disaster risk reduction.
    • Increase the level of resistance of health facilities to natural hazards through the promotion of application of the safe hospital index

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    Other Links

    Virtual Health Library

    Dayrells Rd & Navy Garden, Christ Church, Barbados
    Tel: 001-246 434-5200 Fax: 001-246 436-9779