A HOST of "Disaster Fighters," comprising popular active and retired West Indian cricketers, musicians and influential figures, have joined regional musical artistes in promoting disaster preparedness this hurricane season, during which climate scientists have forecast above-normal activity.
On Monday, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) – the Caribbean Community's (Caricom) regional inter-governmental agency for disaster management – launched a month-long campaign which it says is aimed at increasing community preparedness and resilience to risks, including hurricanes, volcanoes, the current pandemic, and other natural hazards in the region.
So far, it has released a disaster prevention-themed song and music video, which is being promoted on CDEMA's social media platforms.
Its launch coincided with the start of the hurricane season.
CDEMA's acting executive director Elizabeth Riley said the campaign is focused on creativity in order for its messages to be disseminated as widely as possible.
"Many Caribbean countries have been battling the compound impacts of drought, covid19, volcanic eruptions and now hurricane season." Riley said.
"We wanted to use an innovative, inclusive approach to ensure that communities are empowered with the necessary plans, information and tools to tackle the disaster impacts that we as a region have been facing."
The star-studded line-up of "disaster fighters" includes retired Barbados great Sir Gary Sobers and other popular faces in Trinidad and Tobago's Daren Ganga, brothers Dwayne and Darren Bravo, and Stacey-Ann King, Jamaica's Chris Gayle, Darren Sammy of St Lucia, and Kieran Powell of St Kitts and Nevis.
Anguilla's Omari Banks, a former cricketer, Mr Killa of Grenada, Tafa Mi Soleil of Haiti, and Ricky T and QPID of St Lucia are among the musicians.
Tahseen Sayed, World Bank country director for the Caribbean, said, "The past year has been very challenging for the Caribbean. Although much of the region has managed the health effects of the pandemic through early actions, the socioeconomic impacts have been severe.
"It is more important than ever this year for Caribbean countries and people to be well-prepared for the hurricane season. We are pleased to support this innovative new campaign from CDEMA that aims to help communities protect themselves and their livelihoods."
The project is supported by the Africa Caribbean Pacific-European Union Natural Disaster Risk Reduction (ACP-EU NDRR) Programme, the Canada Caribbean Resilience Facility, the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (managed by the World Bank), and Binance Charity.
The CDEMA added that in an "unprecedented move," for the campaign, it will implement its first-ever Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) (blockchain) marketplace to raise donations and support disaster preparedness and disasters in the region.
The participating celebrities will donate signed cricket balls, T-shirts and other memorabilia including exclusive, limited-edition collectibles, for public auction as part of fundraising efforts. Items will include unique, personalised messages from the "Disaster Fighters" team.