Droughts, storms, torrential rains and fires threaten millions in Latin America and the Caribbean – global issues


  • by Alison Kentish (New York)
  • Interpress service

The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) says that events such as floods, droughts and heat waves account for more than 90 percent of all disasters in Latin America and the Caribbean in the past 20 years.

He adds that he warns that the effects of climate change are likely to become more severe in the region.

The organization, in collaboration with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) and the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR), has launched, “The State of the Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean 2020” On August 17 at a high-level conference entitled “Working Together for Weather, Climate and Water Resilience in Latin America and the Caribbean”.

According to the report, rising temperatures, receding glaciers, sea level rise, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, land and sea heat waves, severe tropical cyclones, floods, droughts and wildfires have affected the most vulnerable communities, among which are many small islands. Developing countries.

said Mami Mizutori, Expert Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and Head of UNDRR.

While the report outlines the devastating effects of climate change on the region, it is also heavy on urgently needed solutions and mitigation and adaptation initiatives.

leaning on Goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which calls for “urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts”, WMO wants countries to strengthen national early warning systems for multiple risks.

While agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean say these systems are underutilized in the region, the Coordinating Director of the Caribbean Meteorological Organization, Dr. Arlene Ling, told the hypothetical event that recent disasters in the Caribbean, Including the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, early warning systems have emphasized the importance of early warning systems to reduce disaster risks and their impacts on lives and livelihoods.

“The St. Vincent Meteorological Service, for example, submitted weather forecasts to the University of the West Indies Earthquake Research Center to plan their activities at the site. Red alerts were given to fishermen, who were notified of poor visibility due to volcanic ash. There were constant communications. With the National Emergency Management Authority and the local water authority regarding heavy rainfall that would lead to rain-soaked ash.

Haiti, besieged by poverty and political turmoil, has also faced many disasters in the past decade. In 2020, Tropical Storm Laura claimed 31 lives in the country, while its citizens and farmers borne the brunt of a severe drought. According to a World Meteorological Organization (WMO) report, Haiti is among the top ten countries experiencing a food crisis.

“Haiti represents an even more urgent need for this kind of early warning system and cooperation, as it has been suffering in the succession of Tropical Storm Fred, then the earthquake and then Tropical Storm Grace,” said Dr. Ling.

Many SIDS in the Caribbean know the importance of adaptation and mitigation measures. The problem is the financing of these initiatives.

Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS) President Dr. Walton Whipson told IPS that in the absence of climate finance reform, these countries that contribute minimally to global greenhouse gas emissions but bear the brunt of the effects of climate change, will not be able to do so. Do the projects they need to survive.

“Only 2 percent of total climate finance that was provided and mobilized by developing countries was directed to SIDS from 2016 to 2018. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated our financial challenges and put us in a financially precarious position. We have doubled our needs, and we continue to take on debt as our economies take a hit and concessional financing avenues close for many of us.

The AOSIS chair says the alliance is driving reforms to ensure targeted financial flows to the most vulnerable. This includes developing a “multidimensional vulnerability index to address eligibility”.

He added that the Caribbean small island states of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Saint Kitts and Nevis and Trinidad and Tobago no longer had development aid.

“Imagine that these climate-prone islands, hit by hurricanes, floods and droughts, must now find commercial interest-rate loans to invest in early warning systems, water resources, and other climate resilience! We need strong political support at the highest level to adopt Multidimensional weakness index.

The release of The State of the Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean 2020 follows the publication of a new report by Intergovernmental panel on climate change, who warned that “human influence has warmed the atmosphere, oceans and land”, leading to extreme heat waves, droughts and floods.

Latin America and the Caribbean are already suffering from the effects of climate change. With 2020 being among the three hottest years in Central America and the Caribbean and 6-8 percent of people living in areas classified as high or very high coastal risk, the World Meteorological Organization says the way forward must be It includes collaboration between governments and the scientific community, backed by strong financial support.

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© Inter Press Service (2021) – All rights reservedOriginal source: Inter Press Service


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