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…)

UK government to set up task force to build back hurricane hit countries

UK aid being delivered in Dominica after hurricane Maria. Picture: Pav Dhande/DFID
UK aid being delivered in Dominica after hurricane Maria. Picture: Pav Dhande/DFID

The UK government is to set up a private sector Task Force to help long-term reconstruction in countries and territories hit by last month’s Caribbean hurricanes, International Development Secretary Priti Patel will announce today (Friday, October 13).

It will mobilise private sector support to rebuild critical infrastructure such as roads and power supplies essential to get economies up and running again, and better withstand future natural disasters.

The team of top business leaders, either CEOs or Chairs with experience in the Caribbean, will sit on the Task Force.

Ms Patel will announce the Task Force at a meeting to discuss the response to the hurricanes and how to enhance global crisis preparedness and response, hosted by the World Bank in Washington D.C.

Read more at: United Kingdom Government

Today is International Day for Disaster reduction – Is this year’s string of hurricanes a sign of things to come?

Codrington, Barbuda after Hurricane Irma  (Photo via UN)

Joint Op-Ed by 

Achim Steiner is Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme www.undp.org

Patricia Espinosa is Executive Secretary of UN Climate Change www.unfccc.int

Robert Glasser is the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction www.unisdr.org

 

From Miami and Puerto Rico to Barbuda and Havana, the devastation of this year’s hurricane season across Latin America and the Caribbean serves as a reminder that the impacts of climate change know no borders.

In recent weeks, Category 5 hurricanes have brought normal life to a standstill for millions in the Caribbean and on the American mainland. HarveyIrma and Maria have been particularly damaging. The 3.4 million inhabitants of Puerto Rico have been scrambling for basic necessities including food and water, the island of Barbuda has been rendered uninhabitable, and dozens of people are missing or dead on the UNESCO world heritage island of Dominica.

The impact is not confined to this region. The record floods across Bangladesh, India and Nepal have made life miserable for some 40 million people.  More than 1,200 people have died and many people have lost their homes, crops have been destroyed, and many workplaces have been inundated. Meanwhile, in Africa, over the last 18 months 20 countries have declared drought emergencies, with major displacement taking place across the Horn region.

For those countries that are least developed the impact of disasters can be severe, stripping away livelihoods and progress on health and education; for developed and middle-income countries the economic losses from infrastructure alone can be massive; for both, these events reiterate the need to act on a changing climate that threatens only more frequent and more severe disasters.

Read more at Thomson Reuters Foundation

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

CARICOM extends sympathy to hurricane-damaged US

hurricane harvey_

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has extended its sympathies to the Government and people of the United States and especially the State of Texas on the loss of lives and extensive damage to property and infrastructure following the passage of Hurricane Harvey.

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CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque

CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Irwin LaRocque, in a message to US President Mr. Donald Trump, expressed the Community’s confidence that the people of Texas and the wider USA have the resilience to recover from the disaster, and he gave the assurance that the Community stands with them at this time of disaster.

Hurricane Harvey, the most powerful hurricane to hit Texas in 50 years when it made landfall on Friday, brought record rainfall which caused unprecedented flooding and droved thousands from their homes.  Several deaths have been reported.

“The widespread destruction wrought by this hurricane has brought suffering to many and will necessitate a significant and lengthy rebuilding process,” the CARICOM Secretary-General said.

“The unprecedented nature of this climatic event highlights the unusual nature of weather patterns that continue to affect nations across the globe,”  he added.