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Strengthening cooperation between telecommunications operators and national disaster offices in Caribbean countries

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Author: Williams, Robert Crane - Bissessar, Shiva UN symbol.: LC/TS.2017/23 53 p. Editorial: ECLAC May 2017


In Caribbean countries, modern telecommunications infrastructure is vulnerable to an array of natural disasters, as exemplified by the impacts of Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica, Hurricane Joaquin in the Bahamas, and Hurricane Earl in Belize. At the same time, telecommunications service —especially mobile telephony and data services— can provide invaluable support to disaster management efforts by facilitating communication, coordination, and intelligence collection during emergency situations. Thus, as a matter of public safety, ensuring the resilience of telecommunications infrastructure in the face of natural hazards is of national importance.
One way this resilience can be enhanced is by strengthening the relationship between operators of telecommunications services and national disaster offices. This paper suggests numerous areas for engagement between these entities and recommends the development of more formalized frameworks for mutual support. Among other issues, it considers needs for improvements to information sharing practices, collaboration on public early warning systems, and the inclusion of telecommunications operators in disaster drilling exercises.

Table of contents

Abstract .-- Introduction .-- I. Telecommunications and disasters in the Caribbean: Tropical Storm Erika, Hurricane Joaquin and Hurricane Earl .-- II. The institutional landscape .-- III. Understanding needs and limitations .-- IV. Coordination for disaster mitigation and preparedness .-- V. Coordination for post-disaster response and rebuilding .-- VI. Conclusion.