Photo: A diverse group of adult students are sanding in a semi-circle around a trainer who is demonstrating the proper way to assemble a satellite dish for internet connectivity.

Why Preparedness is a Good Investment

Posted on December 10, 2019 by Michael Corley, consultant with The Patterson Foundation & NetHope
During the spring of 2018, The Patterson Foundation invested $380,000 into two Caribbean Disaster Preparedness efforts led by our partner, NetHope. NetHope’s interest in focusing on disaster preparedness was a direct outcome of its experience working in the Caribbean after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.

This past year, Hurricane Dorian made a direct hit on many islands of the Bahamas. We asked NetHope to tell us how the disaster preparedness trainings have impacted its work in the Bahamas:

The Patterson Foundation funding went towards multiple initiatives in the Caribbean following Hurricane Maria. The highlights from that work that directly impacted our response in the Bahamas would be the following:
  • Prepositioning of satellite and networking equipment in Panama at the UNHRD warehouse
  • Member and partner Disaster Response Training held in Panama 2018
  • Member and partner Disaster Response Training held in California 2019
  • CDEMA preparedness training in Barbados 2019 (CDEMA co-lead Dorian response with Bahamian government NEMA)
  • Data and Information sharing preparedness activities through 2018 and 2019
Those initiatives listed above allowed us to react immediately when we knew the Bahamas was severely impacted — it was one of the fastest responses in terms of getting staff and equipment on the ground and engaged in the government emergency operations center. The prepositioned equipment was shipped in quickly and easily with UN support for customs clearance and transport. Our partners deployed their staff rapidly and with the appropriate training and skills for the response. The relationships built throughout the duration of the preparedness programs meant the main actors in the response were familiar with NetHope, and the doors were opened quickly – this is invaluable to getting in and providing emergency services in a rapid response.

With the money TPF invested, NetHope was able to conduct several Disaster Response Trainings (which teaches responders how to deploy into a disaster and also builds meaningful relationships) and was able to purchase and warehouse prepositioned equipment (transporting supplies is a big challenge after a disaster).

Investing in preparedness isn’t glamorous or fun, but it does provide significant benefits.

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