27 November - An initiative to strengthen multi-hazard early warning systems in the Caribbean was launched on November 20 during the dry season Caribbean Climate Forum (CariCOF) meeting in Barbados.
The Caribbean region is highly exposed to high-impact hydrometeorological hazards such as hurricanes and tropical storms, causing floods, landslides and storm surge. In 2017, Hurricane Irma caused massive destruction in Barbuda resulting in the subsequent full evacuation of the island while Hurricane Maria caused devastation Dominica. Barbados suffered from flooding as a result of Tropical Storm Kirk in September 2018.
“It is undeniable that Early Warning Systems are well-recognized as critical life-saving disaster risk reduction tools,” Honorable Edmund Hinkson, Barbados Minister of Home Affairs, told the launch.
The project titled “Strengthening Hydro-Meteorological and Early Warning Services in the Caribbean” will be led by the World Bank together with the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). At the regional level the led implementers will be the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH).
Hinkson lauded the multifaceted approach being used by this initiative which brings global partners together with regional partners for the first time. “The Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems Initiative (CREWS) brings comparative advantage of all agencies together,” Hinkson added. This approach intends to build community resilience through a functioning, gender-inclusive, cascading early warning systems for the region.