(PO/GIS) – Director of the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO), Ms. Dorine Gustave, said yesterday, that NEMO is ready to respond to the threat of coronavirus.
“NEMO is mandated to be in a state of readiness in the event of a disaster,” she said. “We have put all mechanisms in place to ensure that the country is in a state of preparedness. The Disaster Act of 1995 states that the emergency powers are to make provision for the welfare and safety of a community in case of a hurricane, earthquake, fire, flood or any other disaster. COVID-19 falls under the category of any other disaster. We are at alert Level One right now, about to move to alert Level Two.”
Once the alert has been elevated to Level Three, the National Emergency System kicks in.
“In Saint Lucia, the Disaster Management Act #30 of 2006, provides guidelines as to how a Declaration of Disaster is done. Once there is in-country spread, or community spread, to ensure that persons are safe, this power is handed over which allows the prime minister as head of NEMO the authority to declare a disaster,” she explained.
A national shutdown will only take place if a state-of-emergency is declared.
“It [a state-of-emergency] happens in stages. It can be a partial shutdown where essential services are still allowed to operate. When it is no longer safe to do so, then one can declare a state-of-emergency. In that instance, all systems are allowed to shut down,” she said.
Currently, NEMO, operating at alert Level Two and guided by the National Influenza Plan, has been mobilizing stakeholders, District Disaster Committees, and national agencies in preparation for a possible pandemic.
For details on national emergency plans, visit www.nemo.gov.lc.
View the LIVE interview with NEMO Director Dorine Gustave, at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZaiFqsk_ZM