CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque at the Technical Consultations for the CARICOM-UN High Level Conference at UN Headquarters, New York on Monday:
We must prepare for the next catastrophic hurricane, flood or drought. We must therefore be climate resilient in time for the next event.
The immediate and urgent need is to rebuild those countries that have suffered catastrophic damage from the two hurricanes. We cannot lose sight of the thousands who are homeless, jobless and simply surviving on relief for two months and counting. Rebuilding their lives is a priority.
The High Level Pledging Forum will be held 21 November, also at the UN and is aimed at rebuilding the devastated Members as the first climate resilient countries in the world and at helping the wider CARICOM Region improve its resilience given its inherent vulnerability as a Community of SIDS – Small Island and Low-lying Coastal Developing States .
The technical sessions are aimed at providing an overview of the impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria on the Caribbean; presenting the country recovery needs, priorities and recovery strategy; and giving partners an opportunity for technical level enquiries and inputs.
The head of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) will provide an overview presentation. This will be followed by presentations by Senior Government representatives of the affected countries and territories. Perspectives will be provided by partners, including those who conducted post disaster assessments.
KINGSTON, Jamaica (JIS) — International Monetary Fund (IMF) Managing Director, Christine Lagarde, says her organisation is willing to help the Caribbean countries severely affected by the passage of Hurricanes Irma and Maria.
“The IMF stands ready to do whatever it can to help in those situations — in assessing macroeconomic implications, determining financing needs, and providing financial support that would also help catalyse broader financing from the rest of the international community,” she said.
Lagarde was speaking at the opening session of the Sixth IMF High Level Caribbean Forum held at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston today.
She noted that emergency relief following events like hurricanes is a key responsibility of the global community.
Imagine relocating the entire population of your country in the face of a colossal hurricane and two months later still not being able to get back home. Now imagine spending several nights in a shelter and taking a stroll the next morning only to find what you used to call community, city or country reduced to an apocalyptic scene.
This is no fiction. Irma and Maria, two back-to-back category 5 hurricanes, the most powerful ever recorded in the Atlantic, swept across the Caribbean in September, cutting a swathe of destruction, taking lives, devastating infrastructure and severely damaging the economies of small climate-vulnerable countries.
Entire islands were decimated, like Barbuda, the smaller of the two-island state of Antigua and Barbuda, and Dominica, both Members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands were also devastated while The Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands were severely affected. Haiti and St Kitts and Nevis also suffered damage. All of the islands are Members or Associate Members of CARICOM.
The island of St Marten, divided between Sint Maarten, a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands and St Martin, a dependency of France as well as Cuba and the Dominican Republic were impacted, in addition to Puerto Rico and Florida, in the United States. (more…)
“I call on developed countries to help SIDS help themselves. We cannot wait till 2020 to see finance to deal with the emergency situations, build resilience in our countries as far as possible, and the loss and damage that is already occurring.
“Our people have proven to be and will continue to be resilient. But here, on the international level, I say to you: all it takes is a pen; a pen to create the policies to prioritise the resources; a pen to change the protocols used to disperse funds; a pen to change macroeconomic targets, realising that we cannot invest in resilience without putting our counties into deeper economic volatility. This means that the frameworks we have under this process must be sensitive to the urgent needs of SIDS … and not simply wrapped up in bureaucracy.” – Prime Minister of Saint Lucia, the Jon. Allen Chastanet, Lead Head of Government in the CARICOM Quasi Cabinet with responsibility for Sustainable Development, including the Environment and Disaster Management and Water, at COP 23