Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson, wants member countries to boost their disaster preparedness, in light of the recent natural disasters in the region.
Two major storms caused extensive damage last year, notably Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica and Hurricane Joaquin in the Bahamas. The storms hit less than two years after a Christmas Eve trough wreaked havoc in some Eastern Caribbean islands, with St Lucia and St Vincent most affected. The region has also been experiencing an increased level of seismic activity.
“If we’re saying that is the future we’re facing we have to invest in operational readiness because for the Caribbean the impact of climate change is going to be on the security and the safety of CARICOM (Caribbean Community) citizens,” Jackson told reporters yesterday, at the end of the 7th meeting of CDEMA’s Technical Advisory Council.
“That is going to be a potential future reality. We have to be prepared to deal with that and we have to invest then, in our humanitarian apparatus,” he said.
Jackson noted that given the constant threat of terrorism, the political upheaval in the Middle East and the current migrant crisis in Europe, the region must improve its own support systems, rather than depending on assistance from the international community.
“With what is happening in the Middle East and Europe a lot of the humanitarian capabilities may very well be shifting back to home, back into Europe to deal with the massive displacement being triggered by the terrorist issues, the mass migration issues into Europe, where the European community will now have to look at how it uses resources to manage that situation.
“If that happens, as the Caribbean, we need to be prepared. And to do that we have to strengthen our investments,” Jackson said.