PRIVATE SECTOR HELPS BUILD NATIONAL CAPACITY IN DISASTER PREPAREDNESS
Updated: Aug 25
Contact Name: Julia Roberts, Communications Officer
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 22, 2020
On the eve of the anniversary of Hurricane Dorian's landfall, Bahamas Strong Alliance has announced a three-part webinar series designed to highlight the leverage that can be gained through formalized private sector involvement in disaster preparedness and response. Each webinar session will focus on key priorities, including lessons learned from Dorian, the impact of a major hurricane hitting New Providence, and medical capacity to respond to natural disasters.
Hurricane Dorian, the strongest recorded hurricane to make landfall in The Bahamas, devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama in September, 2019. The historic hurricane also created one of the most diverse and impactful private sector responses to a natural disaster the country has ever seen.
Bahamas Strong will begin the webinar series with the launch of its publication, “Hurricane Dorian: A Private Sector Response through the Lens of the First Fourteen Days.” Work on the publication began late last year and covers the extensive response coordinated at Odyssey Aviation, including the National Evacuation Centre, the air and marine responses, and medical preparedness and emergency response. The dominant portion of the first webinar session will be devoted to highlighting the important lessons learned from Dorian to ensure benefit to future response.
Webinar priority two is a longstanding and nagging worry to both public and private sectors: the impact of a major hurricane on New Providence. The second session will look at hazards and impact risks for the nation’s capital and most densely populated island. “You often hear people in government and the private sector express grave concerns for New Providence,” said Happy Hall, a founding director of Bahamas Strong and one of the webinar organizers. “Bahamas Strong believes we have to formulate plans, based on the known risks, that bring the capabilities of the private sector to the table,” Hall continued. “Responding to a major hurricane hitting New Providence will be an all hands on deck situation, not something that the government alone will be able to handle.”
The Webinar series will wrap up by focusing on the contribution the private sector can make to medical response in the face of a natural disaster. In the context of Dorian, a tremendous amount of leverage was gained from the quickness with which the private sector was able to inject first responders, equipment and medical supplies into the catastrophic situations in Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Bahamas Strong believes public-private partnerships (P3s) are a singular and transformative mechanism that can help The Bahamas overcome the monumental challenges facing it today. P3s answer the repeated and emphatic calls from the Prime Minister to “jettison mindsets and structures that hold us back,” as he said at the UNDP Bahamas Funding Conference in January, 2020. This past June, during the Budget Debate, the Prime Minister called on all Bahamians to “seize the opportunities to build a resilient Bahamas.”
Bahamas Strong’s maintains natural disaster preparedness can only happen effectively and at the pace needed nationally through public-private partnerships. The organization is using the ideally-timed three-part webinar series to demonstrate how the country can do things differently to tackle this pressing priority of preparedness and in a transformative way.
The webinar series runs from September 2 through September 4 and each session will begin at 4 pm.
The Bahamas Strong Alliance (bahamasstrong.org) was formalized in January 2020 by founding directors Susan Larson, Karla Wells-Lisgaris and Happy Hall. It originated from the unprecedented private sector response to Hurricane Dorian in 2019. The Core Group, as Bahamas Strong was first known, spearheaded the private sector response to Hurricane Dorian as well as the initial coordination of the international NGO community. In early 2020, the Core Group registered Bahamas Strong as a non-profit and rebranded itself as a collaborative agent, amongst private sector partners, NGOs and the Government of The Bahamas. In July 2020, the entity added Alliance to its name, becoming Bahamas Strong Alliance. Its mission is that of building a more resilient Bahamas through leadership and collaboration.