Providenciales, TCI, November 2, 2016 – In December 2015, the United Nations General Assembly designated Saturday 5th November 2016, as World Tsunami Awareness Day. The date for the annual celebration was chosen in honour of the Japanese story of “Inamura-no-hi”, meaning the “burning of the rice sheaves”. During an 1854 earthquake a farmer saw the tide receding, a sign of a looming tsunami. He set fire to his entire harvest to warn villagers, who fled to high ground. Afterwards, he built an embankment and planted trees as a buffer against future waves.
The UN General Assembly has called on all countries, international bodies and civil society to observe the day, in order to raise tsunami awareness and share innovative approaches to risk reduction.
The debut World Tsunami Awareness Day focuses on education and evacuation drills. For the pass five (5) years here in the Turks and Caicos Islands (TCI) the Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies has embarked on raising Tsunami Awareness by working with the public and private schools here in the Turks and Caicos Islands.
Some of the key activities undertaken in the past to promote awareness include:
- Observance of annual Earthquake and Tsunami Awareness Week in January
- Tsunami evacuation drills were held with a number of the schools
- In March 2013 on the Island of Grand Turk, a full scale Tsunami Drill was carryout where all public and private school participate in getting to the highest points on the island by foot as part of the Caribe Wave activity for that year. The Enid Capron and Ianthe Pratt Primary Schools also participated in evacuation drill in 2011 & 2015.
- Participation in the regional annual Caribe Wave Tsunami Exercise which focuses on the different aspects of protocol of tsunami awareness.
- Communication tests, tabletop/functional exercises and evacuation drills have formed part of this event in the past.
- Production of educational materials – PSAs, brochures, newsletters
- Drafting of a National Tsunami Response Plan and Standard Operating Procedures.
In recognition of the day DDME will be doing the following awareness activities:
- Informative interviews on Tsunami Awareness
- Appearing on Expression – 2nd November 2016
- PSAs via Radio Turks and Caicos and other Radio Stations
We cannot forget the Indian Ocean Tsunami which occurred on 26th December 2004, that claimed the highest number of fatalities of residents and tourist alike and was one of the ten worst of all time recorded disasters. Additionally, recently following the Haiti Earthquake January 2010, the Turks and Caicos Islands were placed under a tsunami watch. In light of this we can no longer afford to focus on just hurricanes and flooding but need to look at other hazards that give very little to no warning but their impact is far more dangerous and deadly.
Going forward as part of DDME Comprehensive Disaster Management Strategy, it will continue to work with its partners both public and private to increase tsunami awareness and resilience in the TCI through:
- Updating and testing of National Tsunami Plan
- Achieving international accreditation as a country that is ‘Tsunami Ready’ from the UNESCO Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) for Tsunamis and other Coastal Hazards.
- Erecting of Tsunami Evacuation Routes
- Production of Evacuation Maps
- Establishing of an Early Warning System
Tsunamis are rare but deadly. Early warning saves lives. Know what to do and where to go #TsunamiDay2016 #LiveToTell
Grants for farmers
#TurksandCaicos, January 31, 2023 – Good Morning to my colleagues in government, I recognize……..and most importantly good morning to the farmers. It is my pleasure today to have you here at this award ceremony. For the very first time in Turks and Caicos, farmers are getting relief for hurricane damage.
This shows that the government is committed to ensuring that the people of the Turks and Caicos Islands have access to a constant and nutritious supply of food, reduce the food import bill and retain money in the local economy. Food Security is the foundation of all human needs. Given the threat to the global supply chain and growing inaccessibility to enough nutritious food, the Government is committed to supporting the farmers to produce local food, to supplement the food requirement of the country. My government’s priority is to provide an enabling environment, to facilitate local investment within the Agriculture Sector as outlined in the People’s Plan for Empowerment
In February last year (2022) my government launched the Agriculture Finance Support Programme (Agro-Grant Incentive). This Finance Support Program for farmers is the first program of this kind in the Turks and Caicos Islands and shows Government’s mandate is to invest heavily in local food production through providing financial support. My government has allocated US$250,000.00 in this first year to promote agriculture development. This Finance Program has 3 areas of support
- Improvement Programmes – to upgrade farms, Existing registered farmers who wish to perform farm upgrades can receive a maximum of $20,000
- New Farm Start Up/Young Entrepreneurs– For new or younger farmers between the ages of 18-25 years can receive a maximum of $15,000
- Disaster Relief – this is specifically in response to National Natural Disasters “Acts of Nature” inclusive of earthquake, hurricane and storms and other approved natural disasters. The value of this grant will be 10% of the assessed damages (up to a maximum of $20,000 USD
To date 12 farmers have received grants in the first 2 categories. Today we are here to give disaster relief to those registered farmers who would have suffered from losses due to the passage of hurricane Fiona in September last year.
Government knows that Farming is an expensive business, farmers livelihood depends on the investment they make on their farms. We live in a small island state that is vulnerable to natural disasters such as hurricane. These disasters can have devastating effects on farms, destroying years of productive work and effort farmers would have put in.
Government in recognizing the important contribution farmers make to Food security and the vulnerabilities they face has moved into action to provide much needed support towards the rebuilding of the farms. Today 15 registered will be receiving funds for disaster relief to assist with their rebuilding efforts. This monies I know will be used for the purposes granted.
I want to thank my Cabinet colleagues and Premier for supporting the continued efforts to grow the Agriculture Sector.
My department of Agriculture recognizes farming is dynamic and as such has lobbied Cabinet for continued support. I am pleased to say that in August last year through a Cabinet Paper, government had approved amending the Agriculture Policy to provide full exemption of import duties for farm vehicles registered farmers can now apply through the department for this support. At that meeting we also agreed for the Department of Agriculture to develop a comprehensive Agro-Incentive Program to support farming in the TCI.
Once again I would like to commend the farmers who are benefiting today for their hard work and dedication and look forward to serving you as your minister
U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”
#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership. To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million. The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.
The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian. Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services. The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security. These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.
In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”
Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets. The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.
RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022. We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years. Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”
In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime. On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”
Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau
Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic
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