Italian help for CARICOM early warning system

Georgetown, Guyana, April 5, 2006 9 (Guyana Chronicle) - The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the government of Italy yesterday signed a scientific cooperation agreement towards the establishment of an early warning system for disaster management in the Caribbean. CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General Lolita Applewhaite and Italy’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Giampaolo Bettamio signed the agreement at CARICIOM headquarters, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown.

“Recent devastating experiences have underscored the fact that the extreme climatic events that are increasingly becoming the norm worldwide pose as great a challenge for those countries with even greater resources than ours”, Ambassador Applewhaite said.

“We cannot emphasise enough, therefore, the great urgency for our countries to build the mechanism necessary to monitor, mitigate and prepare for these extreme events and to take necessary steps to minimise their impact on our development,” she said.

She added that the cooperation agreement is an appropriate, timely and extremely welcome initiative, coming as it does a short nine weeks away from the official start of the 2006 hurricane season in the Caribbean.

There are estimated to be nine hurricanes this year, five of which are predicted to be major hurricanes of category three or higher. This excludes tropical storms which are expected to number 17, Applewhaite indicated.

She said CARICOM has set the highest priority on addressing the many challenges related to climate change and disaster mitigation and management.

The community has established institutions such as the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Resource Agency to address disaster mitigation and management issues in the region, she added.

“Effective resilience building…requires the use of modern systems and technologies capable of providing constituents with sound and reliable information that can be utilised for efficient decision making,” Applewhaite noted.


CDEMA Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency. Resilience Way, Lower Estate, St. Michael Tel: (246) 434-4880, Fax: (246) 271-3660
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