All hands needed on deck for post-hurricane recovery – WB Meeting hears

Statement on High Level Meeting on Recovery and Resilience in the Caribbean

The participants highlighted the need for a response involving all partners, including regional organizations, development partners, private sector, national Governments and civil society, to leverage comparative advantages for building resilience to disasters in highly vulnerable small-island states, as extreme weather events have added to their existing economic vulnerabilities. The contribution of the private sector will also be critical, offering both resources and expertise.
Washington, October 13th, 2017– Leaders and representatives of CARICOM countries and territories, and international partners, including the international financial institutions, and the representatives of territories in the region, convened (Friday) in a high-level round table on recovery and resilience in the Caribbean hosted by the World Bank Group (WBG), as part of the WBG-IMF Annual Meetings.

During the discussion, participants examined the impact of and recovery from the destructive hurricanes that struck the Caribbean in September, reviewed the instruments available for disaster risk management and response, and considered the need to innovate further in order to address the long-term challenges and strengthen resilience of affected islands.

Participants expressed solidarity and support to the affected islands and communities, and reaffirmed their commitment to working together to build back better and in a more resilient way, following the devastation caused by hurricanes Irma and Maria. They highlighted the need to ensure active engagement of communities, especially women, in the recovery and reconstruction process, as well as the importance of putting in place building standards that will mitigate the impact of future extreme weather events. The participants also noted the importance of making progress on the World Bank’s Small States Roadmap which proposes various initiatives to promote resilience of small states. (more…)

Caribbean storms show urgency of rethinking aid for small island states

Aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Tortola, BVIs (Photo via OECS)
Aftermath of Hurricane Irma in Tortola, BVIs (Photo via OECS)

A series of devastating storms in the Caribbean has highlighted the vulnerability of small island states, where a single hurricane can undo years of development and plunge prosperous households into poverty from one day to the next.

Hurricane Irma turned 90 percent of homes on Barbuda to rubble and left financial losses of USD 100-200 million. Hurricane Maria has knocked out power to the entire US territory of Puerto Rico.

For most developed countries, a natural disaster triggers action from national governments to provide emergency relief and compensation – witness the recent emergency spending provided by the US Congress following Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. But unlocking emergency funds is not always straightforward for small island developing states, not all of which have easy access to capital markets. Small island states often have high public debt ratios and insurance coverage among households and businesses can be limited.

Grenada is still paying the consequences of being hit successively in 2004 and 2005 by Hurricanes Ivan and Emily. Estimated losses amounted to 200 percent of gross domestic product, and Grenada is still in “debt distress” according to the International Monetary Fund. The Cook Islands are still subject to austerity measures under a 1998 debt restructuring agreement prompted by the reconstruction costs that followed Cyclone Martin two decades ago.

Read more at: Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development

Hurricanes can turn back the development clock by years

A street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after Hurricane Mathew.  (UN Photo/Logan Abassi)
A street in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, after Hurricane Mathew.
(UN Photo/Logan Abassi)

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.

Read more at: World Bank

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”.