Government approves emergency communications plan for Dominica
Dominica’s Cabinet has approved the implementation of the National Emergency Telecommunications Plan to establish a consistent and harmonized structure for emergency communications on the island.
In a statement earlier this week, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office for Telecommunications and Broadcasting, Senator Oscar George said the plan was developed to ensure effective emergency communications in following any natural disaster.
“The government conducted a multi-sector consultation in April 2021 to consider issues related to mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery as a basis to inform the plan,” he said.
George said attendees included the disaster management office, telecommunications service provider utility companies, amateur radio providers, shipping agencies and other private and public sector entities.
“Implementation of the plan will involve the formalization of legislation for disaster risk management; the comprehensive disaster management bill will incorporate the provisions of the Tampere Convention, a United Nations (UN) treaty signed by Dominica in 2000,” he said.
The minister explained that the Tampere Convention calls on states to facilitate the provision of rapid communications and assistance to mitigate the impact of a disaster.
The national disaster plan will be updated to improve coordination among relevant actors involved in disaster risk management and emergency response communications.
He said the Disaster Management Office and other agencies that form the National Emergency Planning Organization (NEPO) will accelerate the adoption of a comprehensive disaster management framework, maintain hazard maps at day for all hazards and will provide information on the most vulnerable disaster-prone communities in Dominica.
“Other actions include updating the network inventory and coverage of mobile and fixed telecommunications providers, radio and television broadcasting and adopting alternative telecommunications and ICT infrastructure, such as services satellite and devices for voice and broadband communications,” he said. .
George went on to say that the government of Dominica will coordinate with member states of the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (ECTEL) to develop specific regulations for the telecommunications and ICT sector, “regarding the management of disaster and update standard operating procedures for emergencies and disasters”. response-related communication.
The Minister of Telecommunications also indicated that Dominica will strengthen systems for monitoring and controlling probable threats before the occurrence of disasters and emergencies.
“In addition, telecommunications training and emergency drills will be conducted to improve policies, plans and procedures governing the use of communication networks,” he noted.
George continued, “The implementation plan also contemplates setting up call centers to warn affected populations of emerging risks; disseminating updates and connecting affected citizens to loved ones as well as the development of emergency operations centers to provide essential communication during the response phase of a disaster.
He thanked the International Telecommunication Union and the World Bank for working with Dominica to undertake this large-scale exercise.