Workshops highlight lessons learned, best practices, and capability building in The Bahamas

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August 5, 2016

Over the last week of July, Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) and partners in The Bahamas conducted two workshops that highlighted lessons learned following Hurricane Joaquin (which impacted the island nation in October 2015) and best practices for emergency operations planning. Overall, the workshops aimed to build capacity and capability for disaster management in support of risk reduction and enhanced resiliency in The Bahamas.

Funded by the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), this year’s Knowledge Exchange—held in Nassau, July 25–29—was the sixth event organized to provide an interactive environment in which disaster management professionals from the United States and The Bahamas can exchange ideas for applying disaster management and risk reduction best practices.

Knowledge Exchange Workshop

The Knowledge Exchange Workshop was held July 25–27 at the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC). Presentations by PDC and The Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), as well as practical, hands-on activities, encouraged participants to develop—or refine—agency response plans. In addition, the three-day workshop served as a “train-the-trainer,” providing participants from governmental and nongovernmental agencies with the necessary tools to support their counterparts on the Family Islands in developing community-based emergency operations plans.

Lessons learned from Major Hurricane Joaquin, which impacted The Bahamas as a Category 4 storm in October 2015, provided a focal point for discussions related to national response operations and recovery activities.

Storm Surge Modeling & Application Workshop

Before, during, and after impact from Hurricane Joaquin, PDC provided direct response support to disaster management partners in The Bahamas. Situational Awareness Products, including storm surge inundation maps for eight of the most heavily impacted islands, were developed through the partnership between PDC and the Bahamas National Geographical Information Services Centre (BNGISC), and were used for recovery planning purposes.

As part of the 2016 National Bahamas Knowledge Exchange, PDC conducted a Storm Surge Modeling and Application Workshop, July 28–29 at the GIS Centre. The two-day workshop aimed to build Bahamian capabilities for storm surge modeling for hurricanes impacting the country by focusing on applications of a new storm surge modeling methodology adapted and applied by PDC for Hurricane Joaquin.

The technical workshop was attended by representatives from the ministries and agencies responsible for supporting planning and information functions during emergencies.

Looking Forward

What’s next? At the request of NORTHCOM and the Bahamian government, PDC will explore options to build upon the exchange of disaster management best practices and knowledge with NEMA and BNGISC in 2017.

For related information on The Bahamas Knowledge Exchange Conferences: 

  • Read about the first PDC-NEMA Knowledge Exchange event series
  • View articles about the 2015 or 2014 Knowledge Exchange
  • Learn how PDC assisted Northern Bahamas with disaster preparedness

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