August 11, 2023 — BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: As climate-related hazards continue to impact the Region, the Caribbean Development Bank’s (CDB) Borrowing Member Countries (BMC’s) will soon be able to prepare for and respond more effectively to these emergency situations, following approval of a USD 750,000 grant to support the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) in coordinating emergency assistance.
CDB’s support will strengthen CDEMA’s capacity to supplement national emergency response operations when a country experiences a hazard event. Initiatives to be undertaken involve training of emergency response personnel, including social and gender experts to work with national teams. CDEMA will also facilitate greater technical support for national disaster management entities through the development of Country Work Programmes.
The assistance is timely, particularly in light of the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published in 2022, which indicated that small island states are increasingly likely to be affected by the “most intense tropical cyclones, storm surges, droughts and changing precipitation patterns.”
CDB’s Director of Projects, Mr. Daniel Best explained that these hazards “can result in significant economic, social, environmental damage and loss, and significant reconstruction costs for BMCs”.
“Hazard events also adversely affect people’s mental health and often those most severely affected are individuals from low-income households or communities. Therefore, it is pivotal for substantial disaster mechanisms to be put in place to enable our BMCs to recover swiftly, post-impact,” he said.
Commonly, after a disaster, a country’s various individual sectors compete for the limited resources necessary for national development, which can hinder economic growth and sustainable development. Bolstering CDEMA’s capacity to augment national support systems will reduce vulnerability and alleviate some of the social and financial burdens experienced at the individual community and national levels in the event of a hazard.
The collaboration with CDEMA continues CDB’s drive to increase resilience and the adaptive capacity to disaster risk and climate change impacts in the Region. In addition, it is anticipated that implementing well-coordinated, timely recovery mechanisms will boost environmental resilience.