Sound public policies on an on-going basis have strengthened the nation’s resilience and have helped in the recovery from the impact of the Christmas floods, Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves says.
Gonsalves made this point Monday during a ceremony to accept an EC$100,000 donation from the National Lotteries Authority toward the disaster relief.
Gonsalves said his government has been strategic in its disaster preparedness by building user-friendly learning resource centres and refurbishing community centres throughout the country.
He said that special attention was placed on bathroom facilities (toilets and showers), kitchen decked with refrigerator and stove, and water tanks.
The learning resource centres and refurbished community centres are quite efficient and have allowed a reduction in the number of persons at temporary school shelters, Gonsalves said.
He also stressed that all shelters are fortified to withstand hurricane force winds at 150 miles per hour.
Physical facilities were not the only consideration in preparing this country for any disaster. Gonsalves disclosed that the mission of the government is to have at least one counsellor per school through out the country, and that 60 counsellors have been assigned to both primary and secondary schools through out the country.
Gonsalves said this policy aids in providing counselling to those affected by the Christmas Eve disaster.
“… with the help from God, Vincentians, organizations, CARICOM partners, international agencies and governments, together we have been able to ensure that the humanitarian relief effort, which arose as an immediate consequence of the disaster did not evolve into a humanitarian relief disaster or crisis,” Gonsalves said.