Tag: flood

This 2016 photo shows erosion along the beach in Annotto Bay, St Mary, due to high waves.

A warning has been issued to governments across the Caribbean, including Jamaica, to do more to make countries resilient to climate change as there is a price to pay if nothing is done.

According to a report commissioned by the Commonwealth Marine Economies Programme, the Caribbean is “in the front line” and at greater risk from more severe impacts than many other parts of the world because of its geographic location as most regional states are smaller islands where people live close to and depend on the sea.

The Caribbean Marine Climate Change Report Card 2017, which was conducted by scientists and researchers, said more intense storms, floods, droughts, rising sea levels, higher temperatures, and ocean acidification are major threats to all regional economies and pose a danger to lives as well, both directly and indirectly.

“As the seas, reefs and coasts on which all Caribbean people depend are under threat, much more needs to be done to protect these resources, and the authors recommend building more resilient environments to prepare for, and protect against, climate change,” the report noted.

It has recommended developing a regional network of marine protected areas designed to future-proof marine biodiversity against climate change and stabilise shorelines to preserve natural barriers such as mangroves, salt marshes, and coral reefs.

STRONG HURRICANES TO INCREASE

The scientists warn that while the overall frequency of Atlantic storms may decrease, the strongest hurricanes are likely to increase. Global average sea level is projected to rise by a further 10-32 inches over the coming century a devastating amount for a country as low-lying as Cayman, where it could be even worse.

“In the northern Caribbean, sea-level rise could be 25 per cent higher than the global average due to other physical factors affecting land elevation,” the report states. “This projected rise in sea level and severe storms is likely to increase the risk of storm-surge events for Caribbean states, which will further exacerbate risks to biodiversity, settlements and infrastructure.”

The report also zeroed in on some countries in the region including Jamaica, Belize, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Guyana and St Lucia.

Where fishing is concerned, the researchers noted that if there is no action – permanent fishing camps on low lying offshore cays may be completely submerged by future sea level rise, and these are particularly vulnerable during extreme-weather events.

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BEGINNING FEBRUARY 7, the USAID-funded Jamaica Rural Economy and Ecosystems Adapting to Climate Change II (Ja REEACH II) project, in collaboration with the Meteorological Service of Jamaica and the Rural Agricultural Development Authority will host a series of agrometeorology farmers’ fora.

The fora are geared at equipping farmers and other stakeholders with climate-smart risk management strategies. The series will explore common terminologies used by weather experts in delivering the weather news, enabling farmers to interpret and use this information. The workshop will also feature presentations on climate outlook for the upcoming six months and how to prepare for any unexpected changes in the weather to reduce exposure of livelihoods.

“The farmers will also benefit from awareness sessions focused on the impact of climate change and variability on agri-business enterprises, the role of insurance products in the management of climate risks, and planning for climate risks at the farm or community level using the participatory integrated climate services for agriculture tool. This will be complemented by an interactive demonstration of the risk associated with disasters and early warning climate service (flooding or drought) by the MSJ,” Ja REEACH II said in a release to the media.

INSURANCE POLICY

GraceKennedy Insurance has partnered with the Ja REEACH II project to provide Livelihood Protection Policy coverage valued at $300,000 which will be presented to selected farmers during the series. The Livelihood Protection Policy offered by GK Insurance is a trigger-based insurance policy which is designed to help especially non-salary income earners to cope with severe impacts on their livelihood following extreme weather events (rain and wind).

This is the third staging of the agrometeorology fora which builds on the engagement of some 575 farmers, extension officers and other stakeholders who have participated.

The Ja REEACH II project is a four-year initiative funded by the USAID and implemented by ACDI/VOCA. Through a range of interventions, Ja REEACH II works with government, private sector, civil society and community- based organisations to increase awareness and application of practical actions that help Jamaicans to become more resilient to the impacts of climate change.

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An in-depth look at the population’s resistance to climate change, in addition to an analysis on vulnerable groups in the country, are among several issues that will be integral in the new Population Dynamics and Climate Change Resilience project, to be undertaken by the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA).

Daniel Schensul and Sainan Zhang, who are both technical specialists at the UNFPA headquarters in New York, told The Gleaner in an interview on Friday, that there needs to be more robust research that focuses on people, in order to adapt effectively to the impact of climate change.

Massive Changes

“The people are very critical in the fight to mitigate against the impacts of climate change and this project will zoom in on just that. The aim is to have comprehensive data with the use of new technology that enables us to know a lot more about the population at every level, understanding what factors make them more vulnerable or more resilient to massive changes to the climate change,” Schensul said at the UNFPA offices in New Kingston.

“This will definitely be an asset for policymakers, as the plan is to cover the whole country at the community level. We will be looking at what kind of houses people live in, where they live, specifically down to their neighbourhood, their education, occupation, access to services and every other information that will be essential as to how well people are able to adapt to climate change,” he continued.

“This new technology will pull all of that information together, because if you don’t know that it is happening you can’t do anything about it.”

Strong Linkage

“We see a lot of projects and data looking at the environmental side, which means there are a lot of infrastructural programmes such as the building of sea walls and initiatives to protect the economy, but, at the end of the day when flood comes, people’s lives will still be at risk.”

Similarly, Sandra Paredez, a census technical adviser based in Jamaica, who noted that the group has collaborated with the Planning Institute of Jamaica, said there was a strong linkage between population dynamics and climate change, resilience.

“We see more and more that there are strong linkages between population dynamics and climate change, and so I believe that this project will fill gaps that exist, especially how we treat with the allocation of resources,” she said.

“We will be using the 2011 census data and exploring the use of the 2001 data to see how best we can explore issues such as the elderly population, age structures and the different vulnerable groups in order to fully analyse the different dimensions of vulnerabilities that exist,” she said.

“I believe we are filling a gap, because people are in a position to influence and they are also the ones being impacted, so all plans have to be centred on them. While we want to save forests and address water issues, it is because it affects people’s lives and that is what the UN tries to focus on – who gets affected, where they are located and what makes them vulnerable to these environmental factors due to climate change.”

 

The Gleaner