Bahamas – NEMA facilitates training on Japanese Grant Aid disaster management gear

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is pleased to receive the remainder of equipment which is part of the $1.8 million Japanese Grant Aid project to The Bahamas in support of the country’s disaster management programme. The equipment includes four balloon lights, eight water pumps, 40 VHF base radio stations, and 200 hand-held radios.


Following donation of equipment by the Government of Japan to aid The Bahamas’ disaster management programme, training sessions on use of the equipment were held December 17-20, 2018 at NEMA on Gladstone Road.  Pictured far left is Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell along with Japanese training instructors and participants.  (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

Some 25 staff from NEMA, personnel of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Ministry of Works underwent training, December 17-20, in basic operation and maintenance of the equipment.

Expert trainers were Derrick Holder and Ronald Alleyne from Barbados, and Takuro Nagai, Manager of the Technical Department and Hiroshi Ohbo, Manager/ Service and Maintenance Section of COMFORCE Japan.

In October 2018, the Government of The Bahamas through NEMA during an Official Handover Ceremony accepted from the Government of Japan a wheel crane, a tractor head truck, along with two 40-foot trailers, two freezer containers and two flatbed cargo trucks.

Over the next six months, NEMA, in collaboration with its public and private partners will aim to install a base radio and a number of hand-held radios in each of the Family Island-designated Emergency Operations Centers (EOC), to support the local Disaster Consultative Committees with their emergency communications.

The water pumps and balloon lights will be strategically placed among the three Emergency Relief Warehouses in Grand Bahama for the Northern Bahamas, New Providence for the Central Bahamas, and Great Inagua for the Southern Bahamas to be readily available for use in those areas, as necessary.

“Again the National Emergency Management Agency is pleased to see this programme successfully executed,” said Director of NEMA Captain Stephen Russell.

The programme commenced in April 2016 with the signing of a Grant Agreement, the formation of a local committee for the product selection and specifications, the tendering process and production of goods in Japan, and the eventual shipping to The Bahamas. This also included the support of two local companies –Five Stars Brokers and Four K’s Cargo — in clearing the shipment and delivering them to NEMA on Gladstone Road.

“The equipment and training should tremendously enhance the country’s disaster preparedness and response mechanism, particularly in the areas of inter-island communication, logistics and transportation,” said Captain Russell.

Study – Big data and technology in disasters: Better integration needed for effective response

In a recent review article published in the journal Disaster Medicine and Public Health Preparedness, a group of Johns Hopkins’ authors evaluated 113 studies using predetermined criteria with the final search taking place on May 1, 2017. Search terms were created in consultation with medical librarians and subject matter experts in Information and Communications Technology (ICT), big data, and disasters. Only articles that implemented ICT and big data tools in real life were considered. (Table 1).


Disasters are becoming more commonplace and complex, and the challenges for rescue and humanitarian organizations increase. Increasingly these groups turn to big data to help provde solutions. The authors wished to examine how ICT tools and big data were being used in disaster responses. By conducting a structured literature search and developing a data extraction tool on the use of ICT and big data during disasters they showed that some important gaps exist which should be part of a future research focus.
Credit : Copyright: © 2018 Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2018.73

A data extraction tool was developed by subject matter and included the following items; first author and year, data type, disaster type, country. (Table 2).

The literature review identified some important gaps: more information is needed on the use of technologies. Most articles discussed the use of ICT in natural disasters which were mainly hurricanes and earthquakes. What was underreported was data on extreme temperatures and flooding, even though these events account for 27% and 26% of global deaths respectively.

Copyright: © 2018 Society for Disaster Medicine and Public Health, Inc. https://doi.org/10.1017/dmp.2018.73

According to first author Dr. Jeffrey Freeman, “Disasters are inherently a Big Data challenge, and with the ubiquitous nature of cell phones, the rapid spread of connectivity, and the rise of technologies like the Internet of Things, the challenge is only going to get bigger. In disasters, the key question we face today is how do we harness a growingly diverse and often chaotic wave of data and information. Simply put, we’ve got to handle more data than we’ve ever had, and do so more quickly and effectively than we’ve ever done before. Big Data and ICT pose a serious challenge in disasters, but they also hold promise for potential solutions. The answer to leveraging the massive amounts of data that ICT is creating is likely to be found within the very same technologies driving the Information Age. But we have to think creatively about adapting and adopting these technologies in emergency situations. Disasters leave little room for trial and error. The consequences are too great.”

According to Dr. Dan Barnett (coauthor on the paper) “As a researcher of public health emergency preparedness and response systems, I’ve watched closely as the rate of innovation has frequently outpaced adoption in this field. If we are to be effective in responding to disasters and other public health emergency situations, we need to do a better job figuring out how technology can be integrated into disaster response.

In embarking on this integrative literature review, we knew information and communications technology (ICT) was present in disasters, and we knew people were using related technologies, but we didn’t know much else. As researchers, we wanted to more clearly understand how Big Data applications and ICT solutions were being used, and more importantly, we wanted to know where things went right and where things went wrong. These kinds of insights can move the state of the science forward, and ultimately, allow us to achieve a more effective response to disasters.

Technology and disasters have had a tenuous relationship. For those of us in the field, there has been a growing recognition that technology holds promise for enabling disaster response, but we’ve also watched as even the most basic of technologies, like phone service and electricity, has been crippled during the acute phase of a disaster. Technology holds little value in disasters if unavailable when it’s needed most. If we can understand more clearly how people want to use Big Data and ICT in disasters, then we can focus our efforts on ensuring those technologies are resilient and reliable under any circumstances.”

Report – Chronic Disease After Natural Disasters: Public Health, Policy, and Provider Perspectives

Chronic Disease After Natural Disasters: Public Health, Policy, and Provider Perspectives

Source:Columbia University, Earth Institute, National Center for Disaster Preparedness (NCDP)

Date Published: 11/27/2018

Format: PDF

Annotation: The purpose of this 46-page report is to provide public and private stakeholders, especially at the state and local levels, with a resource to help them better understand and support the needs of individuals with chronic conditions, and the post-disaster burden on chronic diseases. It highlights the strengths and weaknesses that have been experienced or are anticipated in current approaches to this issue, and makes recommendations that include increasing the focus on the needs of these patients during the disaster recovery phase.

 URL:https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/doi/10.7916/D8ZP5Q23

Webinar – Roles and Responsibilities of Government: Addressing the Health and Wellbeing of People with Disabilities in Disasters

Roles and Responsibilities of Government: Addressing the Health and Wellbeing of People with Disabilities in Disasters

Source: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living (ACL)

Date Published: 11/15/2018

Format: Video or Multimedia

Annotation: This one-hour, 16-minute webinar defines and explains federal, state, and local roles and responsibilities in disasters and public health emergencies, and provides a summary of guidance and frameworks used at all levels for planning and coordination. It highlights best practices and examples of effective coordination with community-based organizations to address the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities in disasters.

URL:https://register.gotowebinar.com/recording/5917139867452596492

Report – Disasters and Displacement in a Changing Climate: The Role of Asia Pacific National Societies

Disasters and Displacement in a Changing Climate: The Role of Asia Pacific National Societies

Source:International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC)

Date Published: 12/12/2018

Format: PDF

Annotation: This 56-page report confirms that migration and displacement linked to the adverse effects of climate change will be one of the defining humanitarian challenges of the 21st century. It is designed to enhance the collective understanding of Asia Pacific National Societies, governments across the region and other key stakeholders such as the United Nations system, NGOs, and civil society organizations, on the trends, dynamics, and humanitarian needs of people on the move in the context of disasters and climate change.

URL:https://media.ifrc.org/ifrc/document/2018-ifrc-climate-change-disasters-displacement-report/

Study – Building Back Better: Understanding How Health Considerations Are Incorporated into Local Post-Disaster Recovery Implementation

Building Back Better: Understanding How Health Considerations Are Incorporated into Local Post-Disaster Recovery Implementation

Source:University of Colorado at Boulder, Natural Hazards Center

Date Published: 2018

Format: Text

Annotation: This study examines the extent to which communities are aiming to build resilience during the disaster recovery process. Researchers conducted key informant interviews with local health departments and one office of emergency management to determine if and how their communities are incorporating public health considerations into the visioning, planning, implementation, and assessment phases of disaster recovery.

URL:https://hazards.colorado.edu/quick-response-report/building-back-better-understanding-how-health-considerations-are-incorporated-into-local-post-disaster-recovery-implementation

Study – ¡Puerto Rico Se Levanta!: Hurricane María and Narratives of Struggle, Resilience, and Migration

¡Puerto Rico Se Levanta!: Hurricane María and Narratives of Struggle, Resilience, and Migration

Source:University of Colorado at Boulder, Natural Hazards Center

Date Published: 3/2018

Format: Text

Annotation: This study draws on resiliency and migration models to analyze the experiences of Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane María. The research examines how respondents and their families experienced Hurricane María and relief efforts, the survival strategies they deployed after the storm, their migration decision-making and journeys to Florida, and their interpretations of governmental response to the hurricane.

URL:https://hazards.colorado.edu/quick-response-report/puerto-rico-se-levanta-hurricane-maria-and-narratives-of-struggle-resilience-and-migration