OECS prepared to share disaster mitigation knowledge with Trinidad and Tobago

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KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, Oct 23, CMC – The Director General of Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), Dr. Didacus Jules says the sub-regional grouping is prepared to share its disaster mitigation knowledge with Trinidad and Tobago now dealing with floods caused by torrential rains over the past four days.
“These extraordinary torrential rains are yet another reminder of the impacts of climate change and the need for global leadership to keep moving beyond posturing to action” said Jules, who is attending the OECS summit here.
“We express our profound sadness for those impacted by the floods and understand many including the elderly, infirm and young children have been seeking shelter on rooftops until help has arrived.
“Let us be clear, left unchecked, climate change will continue to have a disproportionate and devastating impact on the economies and people of the Caribbean. The question therefore is not the challenge before us but our capacity as a region, as a people to meet it,” Jules said.
He said the most valuable course of action the nine-member grouping can now offer is to share specialized disaster resilient knowledge gained from within the OECS experience to complement local approaches and expertise in Trinidad and Tobago and beyond, to allay future weather events.
“Practical, successful coastal defence and flood mitigation measures such as drainage works, river bank stabilization programs to the strategic planting of certain species of trees to help prevent land erosion and slips are delivering results in Montserrat, Anguilla, St. Lucia, British Virgin Islands, Nevis and Dominica as examples.”
Jules said while no mitigation initiative will ever avert flooding of this scale it can help diminish the magnitude of the outcome, and if just one life is saved as a result, then it is worth it.
““While knowledge is power in the fight against climate change the OECS will also continue to back the global effort to mobilise US$100 billion dollars by 2020 to galvanize local community disaster mitigating initiatives which combined can ensure Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region becomes more climate resilient” said Jules.
The OECS summit will discuss a number of issues including a presentation on Climate Smart and Investment Ready Opportunities for the OECS; establishment of diplomatic presence in Canada; OECS membership in the Inter-American Development Bank and the establishment of a fourth University of the West Indies campus in Antigua/Barbuda and the implications for OECS member states.
A number of reports from OECS organs will also be discussed including the OECS Commission and the reports of the Council of Ministers.
The OECS groups the islands of Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Kitts-Nevis, Montserrat, Anguilla and British Virgin Islands.

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