Since the late 1980s, Abacus has been involved in disaster management activities in the Caribbean. The following paragraphs give an overview over the organization’s past and current activities.

 

Community Flood Early Warning Project

Main activities of Abacus and its consultants have concentrated on disaster preparedness since Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. Over a span of 20 years from then on, it has facilitated the implementation of national and regional projects for individual governments, regional organizations, international donors, Aid agencies, the World Bank and the United Nations. Amongst others, they have included:

    • the development and testing of the first regional emergency communications exercise (“Region Rap”) for CDERA in 1993, which is still conducted today every year;

 

    • the development of model Standard Operating Procedures for Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) for CDERA in 1993, which were subsequently rolled out across the entire region, and are still used today;

 

    • the design, set-up and testing of Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs) for such countries as Antigua, Dominica, Saint Lucia, Guyana, Belize, St. Kitts, Bahamas, Turks and Caicos, and Montserrat between 1993 and 2003;

 

    • the drafting of new or updating of existing National Disaster Response Plans for English-speaking countries in the Caribbean between 1995-2003; and

 

  • a Radar Early Warning System for some communities in Haiti and the Dominican Republic between 2003 and 2004.

 

Triggers for most of these deployments were major natural disasters that had struck the region, e.g. Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, floods in Belize in 1996, the volcano eruption in Montserrat in 1997, and Hurricane Mitch in 1998.

 

With the reorganization of Abacus into Abacus for Communities the first half of 2010 was focused on a study to propose the building of community resilience to disasters, AfC commissioned a short study into how the disaster management framework in Jamaica could be bolstered to include the communities themselves more comprehensively as active participants.

The report was followed up with a project proposal (“Building Community Resilience to Disasters in Jamaica – Integrating a Community-Participation Approach into the Disaster Management Framework”) that establishes a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to addressing Priority Five of the Hyogo Framework for Action – Building the Resilience of Communities through the entire disaster management cycle. This proposal was designed in collaboration with ODPEM and in consultation with other stakeholders in the Jamaica disaster response community. Funding of US$ 164,600 is currently sought to implement this initial project.

In addition, Abacus for Communities is currently working on other community-targeted proposals related to conflict resolution and climate change.

Main partners have included CDERA (now CDEMA), DFID, UNDP and various national governments.