Caribbean urged to prepare for heatwaves

Caribbean urged to prepare for heatwaves (Photo via Jamaica Gleaner)
Caribbean urged to prepare for heatwaves (Photo via Jamaica Gleaner)

KINGSTOWN, St Vincent (CMC): Caribbean islands especially those in the south have been urged to prepare for heatwaves as they will be a feature of the 2017 rainy season.

That is the warning issued by Dr Simon Mason of the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology in his presentation  – ‘Caribbean Heat outlooks: Research and product development’ to the participants attending the Caribbean Regional Climate Outlook Forum which opened here on Wednesday.

Simon said in the past, not a lot of emphasis was placed on heatwaves but data gathered from islands over the years, has shown that this  is a growing challenge. “It’s time to investigate the problems of heatwaves and the best way to deal with it in this region,” said Simon who pointed out that in the United States of America heatwaves kills more people than tornadoes while in 2003 heatwaves killed 30,000 in France.

Read more at: Jamaica Gleaner

CIMH workshops focus on forecasting, impact of climate change

Representatives from across various sectors in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will on Friday 2 June, wrap up meetings in St. Vincent and the Grenadines that focused on forecasting and the impact of climate change of sectors including health, tourism, agriculture and energy.

The Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) held the 2017 Wet Season Caribbean Climate Outlook Forum (CariCOF) workshops with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Department of Environment and Climate Change Canada. In addition to the Forum, the final two days of the week-long workshops focused on the Building Regional Climate Capacity in the Caribbean (BRCCC) Programme’s Early Warning Information Systems Across Climate Timescaes (EWISACTS).

Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Dr. the Hon. Ralph Gonsalves addressed participants on Wednesday morning. In his wide-ranging address, he reflected on the impact of natural disasters on the small states of the Caribbean, and the level of funding that was required to recover from them. He said that the Region had a responsibility to adapt to climate change and to continue to pursue efforts to mitigate its effects. He praised the CIMH for its work and pointed out that the certainty of climates of the past was no longer applicable, hence the science of meteorology was necessary.

He urged participants not to “take storms for granted” and to ensure that the best was done to “prepare yourselves”.


Controlling spread of infectious diseases key to regional health security

Participants at the meeting
Participants at the meeting

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. May 25, 2017.    “We live in a global village where situations related to health security impact us and we in turn can have an impact on the world. Therefore, we see keeping residents and visitors in the Caribbean region safe by controlling the spread of infectious diseases as key to regional health security.”

These were the words of Dr. C. James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), as he spoke at the Opening Ceremony of the  meeting coordinated by the Agency.

The two-day meeting held from 9-10 May, 2017, at the Trinidad Hilton and Conference Centre, brought together participants from CARPHA Member States, regional and international organisations to discuss the implementation of a Regional roadmap for health security. The Draft Caribbean Region Global Health Security Agenda Five-Year Roadmap (2017-2021), was developed at the Global Health Security Agenda Caribbean Roadmap Workshop which was held in Miami, Florida, in November 2016.  (more…)

Tackling NCDs

Seven Caribbean countries are on course to achieve the global target set by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for reducing the number of deaths caused by non-communicable diseases (NCDs), Director of the George Alleyne Chronic Disease Research Centre of the University of the West Indies, Dr. Alafia Samuels, said Tuesday.

She was at the time delivering an address at a sub-regional workshop at the Accra Beach Hotel, Bridgetown, Barbados.

According to the Barbados Today media house, Dr. Samuels reported that Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States, The Bahamas, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and CARICOM Associate Members, the Cayman Islands and the Turks and Caicos Islands, were on course to reduce their total number of NCDs by 25 per cent by 2025, while the rate of mortality was on the rise in other countries.

“So there are actually countries in the Caribbean where the mortality rate is increasing. In most countries it is decreasing, but there are a couple where it is increasing. And major contributors to these disparities have been trends in stroke and ischaemic heart disease and diabetes,” the media house quoted Dr. Samuels as saying.

Roots and tubers: A potential cash cow in the Caribbean

Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of 1 year (Photo via Spore)
Slimdown 360’s instant mash products have a shelf life of one year (Photo via Spore)

Root and tuber crops (RTCs) such as arrowroot, cassava, dasheen, eddoe, ginger, sweet potato, tania and yam are farmed throughout the Caribbean and remain a staple of traditional diets. Belize, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Suriname and some eastern Caribbean countries are self-sufficient in RTCs with Jamaica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines leading regional exports.

However, with the capacity to create value-added products for local consumption and export, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has identified cassava, sweet potato and yam with the highest potential for development.

RTC crops can withstand up to 98 per cent of hurricane disasters and have good potential even as regional climate patterns change, as planting material can be sourced locally, and farmers are familiar with RTC production. RTCs are also valued for their ‘good’ complex carbohydrates, which provide better glycemic indices (food’s effect on a person’s blood sugar), compared to imported refined carbohydrates; they are also high in dietary fibre and low in calorie count, which are important considerations for health-conscious markets in Europe.

Read more at: SPORE