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OXFAM Training: Disaster Mitigation

By Casey Callais -- What would you do if a major earthquake struck your area? What kind of preparedness checklist would you follow in case of a pending disaster like a hurricane? Imagine yourself in that kind of situation but faced with the compounded difficulties of working and living in rural Nicaragua, where there is no store to buy batteries or bottled water, no food handouts from relief agencies, and the leaf roof that once covered your home has blown away, and you are left with nothing.

Two blueEnergy staff recently attended a disaster-preparedness workshop held by OXFAM in Managua. "We are not ready," said Jean-Baptist from the Managua office. "It would take double our labor levels to prepare ourselves adequately."
JB and Rickey from blueEnergy work with OXFAM

This is a difficult realization to accept but useful to address, and thanks to OXFAM,  blueEnergy now has a much better idea of the challenges that the organization could face if a disaster strikes. The workshop focused in large part on disaster preparedness in regards to water sanitation and hygiene. The Coordinator for the blueEnergy Water and Sanitation Team, Rickey Monroe, took note of how to best adapt blueEnergy's water and sanitation program to the challenges and needs of a possible disaster.

More than likely blueEnergy would have to put all current projects on hold and shift resources to organizing and training communities in the techniques taught in the workshop. blueEnergy would also help facilitate logistics for other relief organizations arriving into the area. blueEnergy has expansive local knowledge of the area, including location of fresh water sources (wells and their depths, families that have them, sanitary conditions, etc), and we could assist first responders and other aid groups in their work to secure one of the most important aspects of survival: clean drinking water.
The situation "Before | During | After" a disaster
Our fingers are crossed that we never have to pull these plans out and execute them, but we are now more confident in our ability to step in and assist should the need arise.

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