The everyday names of Hurricanes like Irma belie their unprecedented fury and ability to claim not just human lives, homes, bridges and roads. The silent and barely visible victim of these extreme weather events is, increasingly, human and social development.
World Bank studies indicate that some 26 million people – the equivalent of the combined population of Chile and Bolivia – fall into poverty each year due to natural disasters.
No one can stop a hurricane or earthquake, but there are ways to minimize their impacts, as disaster risk management expert Joaquin Toro explains in the following interview.
CARICOM Chairman, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Wednesday completed a tour of hurricane devastated islands and have indicated that arrangements are being made to convene an international Donors Conference to mobilise the ‘significant resources’ required for the recovery effort.
The touring CARICOM Delegation included Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), which is the CARICOM Institution coordinating the regional hurricane disaster response; and Captain Errington Shurland, Executive Director of the Regional Security System (RSS).
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Mr. Gaston Browne joined the Delegation for the tour of Barbuda where Government’s assessment shows more than 90 percent of the buildings on the island were destroyed. Prime Minister Browne confirmed that all Barbuda residents have been relocated to sister island Antigua, with just a contingent of military personnel remaining to provide security.
“I’m very grateful for the visit by the CARICOM Chairman, Secretary-General and other members of the delegation. It shows we have other Caribbean brothers and sisters who are standing in solidarity with us,” Prime Minister Browne said after taking the delegation on a walk-though Barbuda’s devastated capital, Codrington.
“Clearly, this is a very difficult time for Antigua and Barbuda and we are very appreciative of the support and, certainly, all of the pledges that will be made,” he added.
In the British Virgin Island, where the delegation toured affected communities and met with Premier Dr Orlando Smith and Government and Disaster Management officials, the focus is on meeting critical immediate needs such as water and food supplies and restoring access to electricity and telecommunications, while simultaneously working on arrangements for getting students back into schools and getting critical sectors of the economy such as tourism and financial services back up to speed. Premier Smith noted that the Government headquarters building is among the those destroyed and his office has had to be re-located to the main hospital building.
Anguilla’s Chief Minister Mr. Victor Banks, who joined the CARICOM Delegation on the tour of his island where the main hospital, schools and 90 percent of the homes were damaged, said he is also working to address the pressing need for food, water, building supplies and electricity and confronting any challenges to the critical tourism sector. (more…)
“The people of Anguilla have responded, as I knew they would. Communities have pulled closer together; neighbours are helping neighbors to overcome the challenges, and supporting each other. Most importantly, unlike what we may have heard from other places in the region, Anguilla remains calm and Anguillians as ever, remain respectful of the rule of law.”
Full Statement from the Governor of Anguilla on the passage of Hurricane Irma
On September 5th, Anguilla has sustained very significant damage and, regrettably, loss of life. This is the worst hurricane to have hit this island in living memory and we are now bracing ourselves for Jose.
Since Tuesday morning, the Governor, Deputy Governor, Chief Minister and the other Ministers have been in constant communication, assessing the damage, identifying priorities, and coordinating the response through the National Emergency Operations Center. (more…)