What would you bring in case of an emergency? Yon kit byen vit!

Some of the participants at the competition Yon Kit Bien Vit at the Iron Market of Port-au-Prince, Haiti. They are some of the most vulnerable Haitian families living in high risk zones, beneficiaries of the DIPECHO project managed by COOPI and GOAL in Haiti.

Photo credit: COOPI, Lara Palmisano.

By: Lara Palmisano.

PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti; 29 October 2015 - What’s a family emergency tool kit? 9 Haitian families answered this question very well during a somewhat peculiar contest hold on October 16 in Port au Prince: Yon kit byen vit! (Creole meaning 'Your kit, quickly!').

The contest was organized by the International NGO COOPI – Cooperazione Internazionale and by the Alliance for Disaster Management and Business Continuity committee (AGERCA), in collaboration with the Haitian DRR advocacy committee (CTESP). The idea was to find all the items to compose a complete emergency kit in a market, as quickly as possible. The venue of the competition was the historical Marché en fer in Port au Prince, an indoor market destroyed in 2010 by earthquake and rebuilt for the community by Digicel, a mobile operator.

The event was a national media success, thanks to the National TV (TNH) and a lot of other local media who attended.

Some families who participated are beneficiaries of an ongoing Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Project of COOPI, funded by the European Commission's Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) trough the Disaster Preparedness ECHO programme (DIPECHO), in consortium with GOAL. One of the main objectives of the project is to raise awareness of DRR, with a particular focus on the preparedness and a better management of the available resources.

Precautions can save lives, and some of them are very easy to follow. However, one should not take them for granted.

"To reduce disaster risk, one needs to get prepared. An emergency kit always ready at home is a simple example of preparedness. It should include a water resistant plastic bag for important documents and provision enough to stay two days away from home or even outside," explained Morena Zucchelli, Country Representative of COOPI in Haiti and DRR Expert.

In May 2015, more than 1800 individuals of the above mentioned project (included the families that participated in the contest) have been trained about the family emergency plan. It is an efficient and easy to handle informative tool, created by the CTESP with the support of several NGOs, and validated by the Haitian Civil Protection, to explain to the families what to do in case of emergency, who to call, how to evacuate and prepare an emergency kit.

“In the kit we put: medication, candles, a radio, soap, rice, dry food and a knife” said Florence, a beautiful child who participated in Yon kit byen vit! Other important items for an emergency kit may be: first aid elements, money, flashlight and batteries, water proof matches, opener, can food, drinkable water and small pots to cook and boil water in to drink.

Another important aspect of the DRR project funded by DIPECHO and managed by the consortium COOPI-GOAL in Haiti is the partnership with AGERCA, an innovative network of Haitian business working to create a bridge between the private sector and the public to promote the DRR and the continuity of socioeconomic activities after a disaster.

"AGERCA and COOPI prepare evacuation and emergency plans with regular SIMEX for the private companies that ask for them. In exchange, they support small DRR mitigation projects in the community where they operate, explains Sarah Taluy, Executive Director of AGERCA. "These agreements promote the sustainability of projects and the commitment of the private sector to the community they are located in, in the interest of everybody".


Related links:
COOPI’s website
GOAL’s website
AGERCA’s website



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International Day for Disaster Reduction #DIRD 2015 Knowledge for Life
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