Monday, January 10, 2005

Commonwealth sends disaster relief coordinator to Maldives

The Commonwealth Secretariat has send a disaster relief coordinator to the Maldives to coordinate the relief and rehabilitation work following the tsunami disaster, Haveeru reports.

Colonel Linton Graham of Jamaica will assist in co-ordinating relief efforts to meet the urgent needs of the country, as it comes to terms with the consequences of the tsunami, in which over 80 people lost their lives. His key tasks will be to facilitate an assessment of the immediate and long-term needs of the Maldives, and to support the establishment of the necessary infrastructure and logistical mechanism for delivering humanitarian aid to the country. Colonel Graham will report to the National Disaster Management Centre.

Colonel Graham has co-ordinated relief efforts in Jamaica after extensive floods in 1979 and 1997, and the destruction caused by Hurricane Gilbert in 1988. He also assisted in hurricane relief work in Haiti. He also has formal training in disaster management and considerable practical experience.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon appointed Colonel Graham after the government of Maldives requested for assistance, reports.

Announcing his appointment, the Secretary-General said, "Colonel Graham brings substantial experience of managing disasters in small island states.

"I am sure he will make a valuable contribution in assisting an island nation, which has sadly demonstrated its particular vulnerability to natural disasters".


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