The catastrophic hurricanes that ripped through Caribbean territories recently were likely to be the “new normal”, and provided the evidence of the reality of climate change, Caribbean Community Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque said Friday.
The impact of the storms also pointed to the need for the Region to build greater resilience to face the new normal, Ambassador LaRocque said.
He was at the time delivering remarks at the opening of the 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development (COTED) on agriculture that convened Friday morning at the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana. The Meeting is being held as the Region is grappling with the devastating effects of two Category Five Hurricanes – Irma and Maria – on some CARICOM Member States and Associate Members.
The Ministers of Agriculture have prioritised climate change, risk management, building resilience and climate smart agriculture agenda over the day long session.
“These climatic events of the past month were unprecedented. Never before have two category five storms ravaged the Region in one season. Never before has a hurricane moved from category one to category five inside 36 hours as Hurricane Maria did. Events like these are likely to be the new normal and provide proof positive of the reality of climate change”, the Secretary-General said.
The Hon. Soeresh Algoe, Minister of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry and Fisheries of Suriname, Chair of the Meeting, the Hon. Noel Holder, Minister of Agriculture of Guyana, and CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, will make remarks at the Opening.
Representatives of the media are invited to cover the following:
Event: Opening Session, 71st Special Meeting of the Council for Trade and Economic Development on Agriculture
Date: 6 October, 2017
Time: 09:00 hrs
Venue: Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana
Kindly make every effort to be present at least 15 minutes before the Opening for ease of security clearance and timely coverage of this event.
Caribbean governments want to be “taken seriously” in humanitarian management, and this year’s hurricane crises are an opportunity for the UN to “let go”, says a senior regional official. The Caribbean is dealing with “something we’ve never experienced before” but proudly coping, Ronald Jackson, head of the 18-member Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, told IRIN, adding that CDEMA effectively playing a leadership role is a “glimpse of the future”.
At times, sharing and assigning responsibilities has been tricky in the rolling crises caused by recent hurricanes Irma, Jose, and Maria: Several sources close to the Caribbean operations had told IRIN of a tense relationship between CDEMA and parts of the deployed UN teams.
But Jackson, speaking to IRIN from the CDEMA office in Barbados, brushed such talk aside. He said CDEMA would play its mandated role at the forefront of the response and looked forward to a “posture of support” from the UN humanitarian system, which didn’t mean the UN should “disappear”. Referring to UN assistance in the past, he added: “you’ve held our hand while we crawled”, but now “we’re walking”.
September 27, 2017 @ 12:14 pm September 27, 2017 @ 12:14 pm
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Ronald Jackson, executive director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency and Management Agency (CDEMA), said that the severity of the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria, have not only challenged the immediate countries, but also the regional agency that is assisting with the relief efforts.
Speaking on OBSERVER AM yesterday, Jackson said that CDEMA has never before dealt with multi-jurisdictional disasters within such a short time frame.
“So many islands in the Caribbean are being impacted all at once, and at such high magnitude. We have had countries like Grenada and Jamaica which have had tremendous, widespread impact from hurricanes. This is now several that has led to the mobilisation of the regional response, across a wider geographic space, within the space of less than seven days,” he said.
September 24, 2017 @ 12:46 am September 27, 2017 @ 12:16 pm
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The Governments and people of Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Member States continue to actively support their sister country Dominica following Monday night’s devastating passage of Category 5 Hurricane Maria.
“We’ve lost all that money can buy”, Prime Minister Roosevelt had disclosed after surveying the widespread damage to houses and infrastructure. A number of deaths have also been reported.
The government of close neighbour Antigua and Barbuda, while still itself in recovery mode from another Category Five Hurricane, Irma’s destructive passage over Barbuda, made an immediate pledge of US$300,000, to which Tourism Minister Asot Michael added a further US$100,000. Antigua-Barbuda’s state and private broadcast media, in particular ABS Radio and TV have been providing a critical connection between Dominica’s residents and the rest of the world, especially during the period when all broadcast and internet services were down. ABS TV provided the first broadcast by Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to the world after his initial aerial tour of the devastation.
VIDEO: Prime Minister Rowley of Trinidad and Tobago
Barbados was also quick out the blocks, putting two coast guard vessels at Dominica’s disposal to help transport technical personnel and supplies. The vessels left Bridgetown loaded with water and other emergency supplies donated by Barbadians in heavily supported collection drives. Barbados has also arranged to provide much needed doctors and nurses to assist with critical medical services.
With rural communities cut off by damaged or blocked roadways, Trinidad and Tobago’s helicopter service proved critical for transporting emergency personnel and assessment teams to the remote villages for damage assessment, to extract the injured and stranded, and to deliver emergency supplies. Trinidad and Tobago had previously provided its helicopter to the Antigua and Barbuda government to assist with emergency services between Antigua and sister-island Barbuda which lost more than 90 percent of its houses to Hurricane Irma and which, as a result, had to be totally evacuated. The Trinidad and Tobago government also announced that it will waive the immigration requirements for residents of Dominica for a period of six months as the CARICOM Member State rebuilds.
The Dominica Government welcomed contingents of police officers from Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada, Saint Lucia and Jamaica among others to assist with security during this recovery period. Grenada announced that a detachment from its Special Services Unit has joined an earlier team of communication and logistics officers supporting the CARICOM Disaster Relief Unit (CDRU). Jamaica made available 120 members of its Defence Force Disaster Response Team to help with maintaining public order, engineering, relief distribution and damage assessment. Saint Lucia’s police contingent was joined by fire and rescue officers as well as disaster assessment officials from the country’s National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO). (more…)