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EU launches fund to assist Caribbean countries

EU launches fund to assist Caribbean countries

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – The European Union has launched a Euro 28 million (One Euro=US$1.29 cents) Regional Climate Resilience Building Facility that will provide financial resources for technical assistance, disaster insurance and resilient investment facilitation.

The facility is the largest grant-funded resilience building project in the Caribbean to date and will be implemented by the World Bank and the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF).

EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere

“What we want from this programme is to address real needs. For this, governments and partner entities will have to define clear priorities, without which a targeted implementation is not possible,” said EU Ambassador, Daniela Tramacere, at the weeklong Understanding Risk (UR) Caribbean Conference that is organized by the World Bank in partnership with the Barbados government, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the EU.

The EU diplomat said the action should have as its ultimate objective, the genuine interest of Caribbean citizens translated in terms of resilience building at community and individual levels.

The technical assistance aims to strengthen the capacity of public institutions and civil society organisations which are capable of protecting citizens from disasters. The support to the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility will help countries cope and recover better from the effects of extreme weather events.

“The support to resilient investment will stimulate the private sector to better adapt businesses and jobs to the priority needs of countries and citizens,” she added.

The Regional Resilience Building Facility is one of the many resilience programmes being financed by the EU in the Caribbean. Additional support for countries to build societal resilience by encouraging the transition to green economies and progress towards a sustainable economic path is being provided by various other EU programmes.

The EU said it is also partnering with regional governments and institutions on climate adaptation and ecosystem resilience and on hydrological meteorological data gathering.

Earlier this week, Canada also announced the  launch a CAD$20 million (One Canada dollar=US$0.74 cents) Canada-Caribbean Resilience Facility initiative to help regional countries better prepare for and respond to natural disasters.

“This initiative is being undertaken with Canada’s Caribbean support as a direct response to the lessons learned following the devastating hurricanes in the Caribbean in 2017 that have impacted our neighbouring countries so severely,” says Marie Legault, High Commissioner of Canada to Barbados and the OECS.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Earthquake, Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, TOURISM0 Comments

Ronald-Jacksoon - C

Caribbean urged to be fully prepared for 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season

by staff writer

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Jun 1, CMC – The 2019 Atlantic Hurricane Season officially got started on Saturday with the Barbados-based  Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) urging the population in the region to be fully prepared for any eventuality over the next six months.

The US-based National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is predicting there will be nine to 15 named storms during the hurricane season that ends on November 30.


Ronald Jackson (CMC Photo)

Forecasters are also predicting four to eight of  the storms will become hurricanes and two to four would become major hurricanes with 111 miles per hour (mph) winds or higher.

But CDEMA executive director, Ronald Jackson, said that regardless of how many storms are predicted, the Caribbean should be fully prepared for any eventuality.

“We do not get fixated on whether it is above below, or average…we focus more on ensuring that we go through the season prepared. There is nothing called over preparing as you would have seen in 2017 when we had three Category 5 hurricanes,” he told reporters.

In 2017, Hurricanes Irma and Maria lashed several Caribbean countries as they made their way through the Lesser Antilles leaving behind a trail of death and destruction estimated at billions of US dollars.

Jackson reminded the Caribbean that hurricanes were now manifesting themselves at a faster rate than before “to a situation where they went from a Category 2 to category 5 in a very short period of time.

“So we have to be prepared for any eventuality. We have to recognise that we have a history of damage, extensive damage from severe rainfall,” he said, adding that CDEMA has been promoting all year round the need to ensure ‘we could deal with any eventuality”.

He said several initiatives had been undertaken and the Barbados-based regional agency was also preparing for volcanic and earthquake incidents during the hurricane season.

“I know it is the hurricane season but we are also upgrading the volcanic, earthquake and tsunami aspects of our plan.

“Again, simply because it does not matter if you are in the hurricane season, you can have an event of nature, a volcano, tsunami or earthquake given the setting here in the Caribbean,” Jackson added.

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The Atlantic may see up to 4 Major Hurricanes this season

By Laura Geggel, Associate Editor 

Scientists are predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, with two to four major hurricanes reaching at least Category 3 status, with winds of 111 mph (178 km/h) or higher, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today (May 23).

But this “near-normal” description doesn’t mean people in the U.S. Southeast and Eastern Seaboard can rest easy.

“That’s a lot of activity,” Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told reporters at a news conference today. “You need to start getting ready for the hurricane season now.”

[The 20 Costliest, Most Destructive Hurricanes to Hit the US]

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season — which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30 — is expected to have between nine and 15 named storms, which means they pack winds of 39 mph (62 kilometers/hour) or higher, NOAA reported. Of those, between four and eight could become hurricanes, meaning their winds reach speeds of 74 mph (119 km/h) or higher.

Although just four of these hurricanes may top Category 3 status, “it only takes one land-falling hurricane to cause great destruction to a community,” Daniel Kaniewski, the acting deputy administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told reporters.

During an average hurricane season, the Atlantic sees about 12 named storms, including six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Last year’s season was above average, with 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, of which two were major — the destructive hurricanes Michael and Florence.

However, it’s impossible to know whether any of the storms or hurricanes predicted for the 2019 season will make landfall, said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator.

The officials added that this year marks the first time NOAA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites, including three operational next-generation satellites, were used to gather data for the hurricane forecast models. This data also helped NOAA issue a storm prediction for the eastern and central Pacific basins. According to NOAA, the Pacific should expect an above-normal season with 15 to 22 named storms, of which eight to 13 are expected to become cyclones (the term given to “hurricanes” in these parts of the Pacific). Of these, between four and eight could be major cyclones, NOAA reported.

See full story at : https://www.livescience.com/65551-2019-atlantic-hurricane-season.html?utm_source=notification

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The Atlantic may see up to 4 Major Hurricanes this season, New Forecast Says

By Laura Geggel, Associate Editor | May 23, 2019

The Atlantic May See Up to 4 Major Hurricanes This Season, New Forecast Says
Hurricane Michael wreaked havoc in Mexico Beach, Florida, in October 2018, which made landfall there as a Category-4 hurricane.Credit: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

TMR – It’s that time of year again. Even though this focuses on the USA, just about all the warnings are applicable to us, all the way down here, right here in the Caribbean. Pay attention ALL and BE PREPARED.

Scientists are predicting a near-normal Atlantic hurricane season this year, with two to four major hurricanes reaching at least Category 3 status, with winds of 111 mph (178 km/h) or higher, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced today (May 23).

But this “near-normal” description doesn’t mean people in the U.S. Southeast and Eastern Seaboard can rest easy.

“That’s a lot of activity,” Gerry Bell, the lead hurricane season forecaster with NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, told reporters at a news conference today. “You need to start getting ready for the hurricane season now.” [The 20 Costliest, Most Destructive Hurricanes to Hit the US]

The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season — which lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30 — is expected to have between nine and 15 named storms, which means they pack winds of 39 mph (62 kilometers/hour) or higher, NOAA reported. Of those, between four and eight could become hurricanes, meaning their winds reach speeds of 74 mph (119 km/h) or higher. Expect two to four Major Hurricanes in 2019The 2019 Atlantic hurricane season is expected to have a near-normal number of hurricanes, with nine to 15 named storms. Credit: NOAA

Although just four of these hurricanes may top Category 3 status, “it only takes one land-falling hurricane to cause great destruction to a community,” Daniel Kaniewski, the acting deputy administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) told reporters.

During an average hurricane season, the Atlantic sees about 12 named storms, including six hurricanes and three major hurricanes. Last year’s season was above average, with 15 named storms, including eight hurricanes, of which two were major — the destructive hurricanes Michael and Florence.

However, it’s impossible to know whether any of the storms or hurricanes predicted for the 2019 season will make landfall, said Neil Jacobs, acting NOAA administrator.

The officials added that this year marks the first time NOAA’s fleet of Earth-observing satellites, including three operational next-generation satellites, were used to gather data for the hurricane forecast models. This data also helped NOAA issue a storm prediction for the eastern and central Pacific basins. According to NOAA, the Pacific should expect an above-normal season with 15 to 22 named storms, of which eight to 13 are expected to become cyclones (the term given to “hurricanes” in these parts of the Pacific). Of these, between four and eight could be major cyclones, NOAA reported.

What forces are involved?

A near-normal Atlantic hurricane season may sound surprising, given that there is an ongoing El Niño this year — a climate phenomenon known for warming waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that can impact weather worldwide. El Niño also acts to increase wind shear in the Atlantic, which disrupts the flow of heat and moisture, ingredients needed for hurricanes to form.

In other words, El Niño often suppresses hurricane activity in the Atlantic, Bell said.

But this year’s El Niño is weak, and it’s competing with the other climate factors. These hurricane-favoring factors are warmer-than-average sea-surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea (a pattern seen since 1995) and a strong monsoon in West Africa, Bell said. “They favor more activity,” Bell said.

What to do

People in hurricane-prone areas should make emergency plans now, Kaniewski said. This includes getting enough supplies — such as food, water and medicine — to last at least 72 hours, he said. In the event of a powerful storm or hurricane, people should also expect major communication networks to go down, so they should have a battery-powered radio to stay updated and have an emergency evacuation route in mind, he added.

Kaniewski also encouraged people to have cash on hand, in case the electricity goes out and ATMs and credit card swipe machines fail, as well as homeowners’ and flood insurance. To learn more, download the free FEMA application, which provides a number of services, including weather alerts, lists of open shelters and advice on emergency preparedness.

Originally published on Live Science.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Features, Hurricane, International, Local, Regional0 Comments

David Arkley

Montserrat represented at 2019 Hurricane Conference

Major Alvin Ryan
David Arkley

David Arkley is the UK Policy Adviser to the Governor and Head of the Governor’s office. He and Major Alvin Ryan, Director of the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) are attending the annual UK Caribbean Overseas Territories and Bermuda Disaster Managers conference in Miami, Florida.
The three-day conference which ends today Friday, May 17th, 2019, commonly referred to as the annual Hurricane conference is organized by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in conjunction with the Disaster Management Advisor for the OTs Jon Snell, who is stationed in Miami.
A release today from the Government Information Unit (GIU), informs that the meeting brings together Disaster Managers and Heads of Governors Offices from the various Caribbean Overseas Territories and Bermuda, UK Defence officials, Officers from Royal Fleet Auxiliary RFA Mounts Bay and representatives from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development, the British Red Cross and the private sector.
The meeting is discussing lessons learnt from the 2018 Atlantic Hurricane season, hurricane preparedness for the upcoming season which officially begins on June 1st and other important matters related to disaster preparedness in the Caribbean OTs and Bermuda.
It also provides an opportunity for invited companies to showcase their products and emerging disaster management technologies.

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Hawaiian Island Vanishes Overnight

It is slowly being accepted, the term ‘Climate Change’ with the further acceptance of the scientific explanation that earth continues to evolve. Makes for interesting education, discussions and debates, especially among students, scientists and yes, politicians. What is real is that ‘preparations’ must take place to deal with the effects on mankind.

LiveScience

A hurricane has wiped a Hawaiian island completely off the map.

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East Island, a tiny speck of land in Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument in northwest Hawaii, was washed away by Hurricane Walaka on Oct. 3 and 4, Honolulu Civic Beat reported Tuesday (Oct. 23). The island had been a critical nesting site for threatened Hawaiian green sea turtlesand critically endangered Hawaiian monk seals, biologists told the news organization. 

“There’s no doubt that it was the most important single islet for sea turtle nesting,” National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) biologist Charles Littnan told Civic Beat.

East Island was a mere 11 acres (0.04 square kilometers) in area. Between 1944 and 1952, it hosted a small Coast Guard station, but the island has otherwise been a haven for wildlife, ranging from albatross to turtles and seals. Satellite imagery has confirmed the island’s demise, but a marine debris team will be headed to the area to survey the damage this week, the Civic Beat reported.

Researchers told Civic Beat that the island’s seals and turtles had left the island after their breeding season but before the hurricane struck. It’s unclear, so far, whether they’ll find a new haven on one of the nearby shoals.

“Species are resilient up to a point,” Littnan told Civic Beat. “But there could be a point in the future where that resilience isn’t enough anymore.”

The Hawaiian green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) is a genetically distinct species of green sea turtle found almost exclusively around Hawaii, according to NOAA. They are legally protected under Hawaiian law and the U.S. Endangered Species Act, and those protections have resulted in a 53 percent increase in population since the late 1970s. Their primary nesting grounds are the French Frigate Shoals, including the former East Island.

The Hawaiian monk seals (Neomonachus schauinslandi), which used East Island as breeding grounds, are in a more precarious position. These seals are found only in Hawaii, and despite their protections as a critically endangered species, their numbers are still declining, according to NOAA. Only about 1,400 Hawaiian monk seals are left in the wild, NOAA estimates. A couple hundred of those call the French Frigate Shoals home, Littnan told Civic Beat. And of those, about 30 percent were born on East Island.

The shoal was the victim of bad luck, given the storm’s direct hit. But researchers told Civic Beat that Walaka was strengthened by warmer-than-average ocean waters, a trend scientists predict will only worsen as the globe warms.

Originally published on Live Science.

Posted in Business/Economy/Banking, Climate/Weather, Environment, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional, Travel0 Comments

Hurricane Michael Is Officially More Powerful than Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Michael Is Officially More Powerful than Hurricane Katrina

Live Science

Hurricane Michael Is Officially More Powerful than Hurricane Katrina

Hurricane Michael is seen from space just before landfall.

Credit: NASA

Hurricane Michael made an “unprecedented” landfall on the northern Gulf coast of Florida Wednesday afternoon (Oct. 10). Just as it came ashore, meteorologists with the National Hurricane Center (NHC) released data showing that the rapidly strengthening storm made landfall as the third-strongest hurricane in continental U.S. history. It edged out Hurricane Katrina, which devastated the Gulf coast in 2005.

When meteorologists talk about the power of hurricanes, they talk about barometric pressure, not wind speed. A hurricane is an intense low-pressure system, and, as National Geographic reported in 2015, the extent of atmospheric-pressure drop in the storm is the best meteorological proxy for the storm’s overall strength and intensity.

Katrina made landfall in 2005 with a pressure reading of 920 millibars (about 8 percent lower than the average 1,000 mb air pressure at sea level), according to the NHC. The final recording from inside Michael before landfall was one tick lower: 919 mb. Two hurricanes in history have made landfall in the continental U.S. with lower pressures: Camille, which carved up the Mississippi coast at 900 mb in 1969, and the Labor Day storm that struck southern Florida at a peak intensity of 892 mb in 1935.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

St. Lucia back to normal after scare from Tropical Storm Kirk , earthquake

St. Lucia back to normal after scare from Tropical Storm Kirk , earthquake

CASTRIES, St. Lucia, Sept 28, CMC – St. Lucia was returning to normal on Friday after Tropical Storm Kirk drenched the island with heavy rains and winds, causing electricity blackouts in some areas as a result of trees falling on power lines.

The director of the National Emergency Management Organisation (NEMO), Velda Joseph, in a statement, said that the organisation had been in contact with the St. Lucia Meteorological Services and other relevant parties and that the tropical storm warning for the island had been lifted.

Velda Joseph

“In that regard normal operations would resume at 1.00 pm (local time) today That applies to the private sector as well as the public sector,” she said. The authorities had already indicated that schools would remain closed until Monday.

The NEMO statement gave no details of any damage during the passage of the storm, but the St. Lucia Electricity Services Limited (LUCLEC) in a statement said that while the electricity system “held up fairly well…several areas were without power due to trees or branches falling on electricity lines, fallen poles, and a few areas where lines dropped due To the high winds and minor slides”.

It said that power restoration work has begun and some of the areas that were without power on Thursday night have been restored.

“There are still several areas without power, as well as some areas with fallen poles and lines on the ground. LUCELEC advises the public to exercise an abundance of caution and stay away from any downed lines.”

LUCELEC said that “steady progress is being made with power restoration work” and that the expectation is that power should be restored to the majority of the system by the end of the day”.

The telecommunication companies said their system “came through” the storm and that 64 per cent of mobile cell sites were fully operational.

“Those cell sites that are temporarily out of service will be restored once commercial power is reinstated,” Flow said in a statement.

The Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC)  said Kirk was now located 185 miles west south west of the French island of Martinique and that the tropical storm watches and warnings for several Caribbean islands had been discontinued.

It said that the storm has sustained winds of 45 miles per hour (mph) and that there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect.

“Kirk is moving towards the west-northwest near 13 mph and this motion is expected to continue through Sunday.  On the forecast track, the center of Kirk or its remnants will move across the eastern and central Caribbean Sea over the next day or two,” the NHC said, adding that Kirk is forecast to weaken to a tropical depression tonight, and then degenerate into a trough of low pressure on Saturday.

Earlier, St. Lucia was hit by a magnitude 5.6 earthquake but there were no reports of injuries or damages associated with the tremor.

The Seismic Research Unit of the St. Augustine campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) said that the earthquake with a magnitude of 5.6 hit the island at 8.32 am (local time).

It said the location of the quake was Latitude: 15.11north, Longitude: 60.43 west at a depth of 10 kilometers (km).

The quake was felt 134 km north east of Castries, 108km east south east of Roseau in Dominica and

91 km north east of Fort-de-France, the capital of the French-speaking island of Martinique.

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TS Kirk Image 2018-09-28 at 8.43.15 AM

Update: The possible worst of TS Kirk has passed

Following warnings of caution, Tropical Storm Kirk which was due to pass well south of Montserrat, at 7.00 a.m., overnight had taken a dip to the south as it continued its westward journey. It was located Latitude: 13.5, Longitude:- 63, still with a windspeed of 50 mph and heading west, traveling 12 mph.

The reported forecast from Storm Tracks for TS Kirk as it moves into the middle of the Caribbean Sea is to continue on its westerly course at 50 mph.

 

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Canadian firm to construct hundreds of new houses in Dominica

Canadian firm to construct hundreds of new houses in Dominica

ROSEAU, Dominica, Sept 24, CMC – The Canadian-based Montreal Management Consultations Est. (MMCE) LTD will construct more than 300 houses here across the island over the coming months as the battered hurricane island continues its efforts to become the world’s first climate resilient country.

MMCE project manager, Chris Timmins, speaking at the signing ceremony here on Monday, said that the project would entail the construction of 66 units in each of the several communities like La Plaine, San Sauveur, Grand Fond, Castle Bruce and Delices on the east coast in the first instance.

Financial Secretary, Rosemund Edwards and the MMCE
chief executive officer, Dr. Anthony Haiden signing agreement.

He said in the northern area of Picard, 68 units are under construction and that a further 68 are to be built in Cotton Hill.

“We are also at City Square which is due to start in the final quarter of this year. It is a total unit, including commercial of 125 units,” Trimmins said after the contracts were signed between the Financial Secretary Financial Secretary, Rosemund Edwards and MMCe chief executive officer, Dr. Anthony Haiden.

Trimmins told the ceremony that following the passage of Hurricane Maria last year that left a trail of death and destruction, revisions had to be made of the intimal housing project in Bellview Chopin, south of here.

“Castle Bruce is scheduled to be completed by June 2019, while everything on the east coast will be completed and handed over. In Georgetown, Picard we anticipate and are confident in July 2019. Cotton Hill we are comfortable in September 2019,” he said.

“The Roseau City Square, it will be twelve months from commencement, so given the present status, we anticipate the completion no later than December 2019,” Timmins said, adding that the units will comprise 10 one-bedrooms, 55 two-bedrooms, 35 three-bedroom units and 25 commercial units.

“We are proud of our products. We have been on the island now for two years, we started up in Bellevue on residential construction in May 2017,” he said, adding “we feel that we now are in a position to offer to the country the most resilient product that is available with modern technology”.

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