Global disasters forecast to incur huge costs

GEORGETOWN, Guyana – Natural disasters are forecast to cost the world around 300 billion US dollars by the year 2050, said Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Public Utilities, Honourable Mustapha Abdul-Hamid.

Mr Hamid was speaking at the commissioning of a Doppler Weather Radar Facility in Brasso Venado, Tabaquite, Trinidad and Tobago on Wednesday 31 March. The system is one of four built in the Caribbean with the assistance of the European Union (EU) in a project with the Caribbean Forum of African Caribbean Pacific (ACP) States  (CARIFORUM). The others are in Barbados, Belize and Guyana which along with five additional weather radars, one each in the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana, comprise the Caribbean Basin Weather Radar Network.

The Minister alluded to the effects of climate change, in particular global warming, on the scale of natural disasters and said that the government of Trinidad and Tobago was committed to securing the country’s human and environmental resources. Mr Hamid cited the Doppler project as critical to the work of climatologists as they seek to analyse and archive data necessary to study weather patterns.

Earlier Mr Emmanuel Moolchan, Trinidad and Tobago’s Director of Meteorological Services Division indicated that the radar system would revolutionise early warning mechanisms in the Region. He said the new technologies in built in the system brought about a new era in weather observation and created greater understanding of the world environment.

Mr Tyrone Sutherland Co-ordinator of the Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO), who is also second vice president of the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO), gave a history of the project from the perspective of the CMO which is the implementation agency of the project. He said all that was needed to close the circle of complete weather radar coverage of the Caribbean from Belize to Guyana was the installation of a radar system in the Cayman Islands which was imminent. He thanked the Secretary-General of CARIFORUM, His Excellency Edwin Carrington, who was present and addressed the ceremony, the Executive Director CARIFORUM, Mr Percival Marie as well as former deputy National Authorising Officer  for Trinidad and Tobago under the European Development Fund arrangements, Mr Anthony Bartholomew for their unstinting support in ensuring the completion of the project.

Also addressing the ceremony was Ms Kathrin Renner acting Charge d’Affaires of the European Union (EU) Delegation in Trinidad and Tobago who identified disaster management, the environment and climate change as three areas in which the EU would continue their assistance to the Region. She also commended the contractors for completing the works on time.

The facility was completed in 2008 and has been fully and successfully tested prior to the commissioning.

CONTACT: piu@caricom.org

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