BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – In 2017, the Caribbean felt the full brunt of climate change with a warning that current trends indicate that there will be no respite.
Within a two-week period, Hurricanes Irma and Maria brought home the reality of the impact of climate change as they churned their way across the Lesser Antilles destroying everything in their paths. Hurricane Harvey had in August set the stage for what was to come; with devastation in Houston, Texas, amounting to nearly US$200billion.
“The unprecedented nature of this climatic event highlights the unusual nature of weather patterns that continue to affect nations across the globe,” the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary General Irwin LaRocque said in a message to United States President Donald Trump, as Harvey made landfall in the United States after whipping up strong winds and heavy rains in the Caribbean.
It took less than a month for his statement to bear fruit. Hurricanes Irma and Maria, two Category 5 storms left so many Caribbean islands devastated in September that the CARICOM Chairman and Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said “there can be no question that for us in the Caribbean, climate change is an existential threat”. (more…)
The unparalleled destruction in CARICOM Member States by hurricanes Irma and Maria has heightened the urgency to advocate for meaningful assistance to mitigate the effects of extreme weather events.
Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, was poignant in emphasising to a new Ambassador of Austria, Her Excellency Marianne Feldmann, whom he accredited on Wednesday, 4 October, there was no doubt “climate change is here.”
In his remarks at the ceremony at the CARICOM Secretariat Headquarters in Georgetown, Guyana, Secretary-General LaRocque recalled that Hurricane Irma devastated, Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Turks and Caicos Islands, and Anguilla, as well as St. Maarten and St. Barts. He noted that it caused significant damage in The Bahamas and affected St. Kitts and Nevis. Ten deaths were confirmed and a losses were pegged at US$2B according to preliminary estimates.
Just over two weeks later, Maria struck Dominica and left in its wake 27 confirmed deaths and more than 30 people missing. The scale of the devastation in Dominica was conveyed by massive destruction to property. More than 95 per cent of the island’s buildings were damaged or destroyed. The island’s agriculture sector and its lush rainforest were decimated. The cost of the damage in Dominica alone could run into billions of dollars.
Please see his full statement on the issue below:
The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) condemns unequivocally the murderous attacks on innocent people in London last Saturday night. These callous and cowardly acts can further no cause and only serve to stiffen resolve in the fight against the purveyors of terror.
The Community stands in solidarity with the people of the United Kingdom whose resilience in the face of adversity is well-chronicled.
CARICOM extends its deep sympathy to the families of the deceased and to the Government and people of the United Kingdom and wishes the injured a full and speedy recovery.