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Updated every Friday.

Friday, July 13, 2018

July 13th

Upcoming events 

II Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Cooperation Authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" to take place from September 20-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-SEDI), as technical secretariat for the ministerial process of cooperation in order to facilitate the logistical arrangements for the participation of ministers, high authorities, and special guests informs the Cooperation Authorities, through the Permanent Missions of the OAS Member States, that the second meeting of ministers and high-level cooperation authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" will take place from September 20th to the 21st, 2018 in Washington D.C. 

What happened this week?

National Hurricane Center watching remnants of Hurricane Beryl 

(National Hurricane Center)A trough of low pressure, associated with the remnants of Hurricane Beryl, was moving north-northeastward over the western Atlantic at about 10 mph., the National Hurricane Center reported. In its 7 p.m. update Thursday (July 12), the Hurricane Center said the disturbance was located about 350 miles west of Bermuda, was producing showers and thunderstorms. Environmental conditions could support some tropical or subtropical development during the next couple of days, the Hurricane Center said. Later in the weekend, the system will be over colder waters and interacting with an upper-level low, which will limit development, the Hurricane Center said. Tropical formation chances were 20 percent over the next 48 hours and 40 percent over the next five days.... Read more  

Tropical Storm Chris expected to transition to a powerful non-tropical storm

Hurricane Chris tracker: Where is Hurricane Chris now? Hurricane Chris has been downgraded to a tropical storm as of Thursday, July 12th.The storm has moved away from the United States towards Newfoundland, in Canada, according to the National Hurricane Center.  A 5am EDT advisory at the National Hurricane Center said the storm was moving at 35mph towards the northeast. Chris is expected to spread some rain across Iceland, but also some warm weather across the UK and Ireland this weekend. Chris is said to be an unusually strong storm for mid-July, following its stirring of seas and coastal waters.  The second hurricane of the Atlantic season does not usually occur until later in the summer - around August 28, according to the National Hurricane Center. Waves 10 feet or greater may pose hazards to small craft, shipping and cruise interests over the northwestern Atlantic into this weekend. The storm follows Beryl, the first-named hurricane of the season, which could regenerate again north of the Bahamas... Read more  

Bolstering disaster preparedness in the Caribbean 

On July 10 and 11, the United States William J. Perry Center for Hemispheric Defense Studies co-hosted a Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Response Seminar with U.S. Southern Command and the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) at the Hilton Barbados. The event brought together participants from 18 Caribbean and South American countries, as well as British, Canadian, Dutch, and French partners. The seminar provided an opportunity to consolidate lessons learned from the 2017 hurricane season and to prepare Caribbean, partner nations, and U.S. humanitarian assistance forces for the 2018 hurricane season...Read more 

Regional Governments Advised to Include Disaster Management in Budgets

Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Home Affairs of Barbados, Gayle Francis-Vaughan, has called for emergency management and disaster preparedness to be mainstreamed in the budgets of Caribbean countries. She made the appeal yesterday as she addressed a two-day Caribbean Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Seminar at the Hilton Barbados Resort. “Personally, as the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry responsible for disasters and emergencies, I would like to see emergency management and disaster preparedness mainstreamed in the budgets of our countries,” she said. The Permanent Secretary said issues related to the development of resilience in Barbados and support for the region were high on the government’s agenda. She added that the devastation left behind following last year’s hurricane season was evidence that countries could never be totally prepared, and they could not do it all on their own. “It [last year’s hurricane season] reminds us that the Caribbean region is really a family that comes together immediately if anyone of us is impacted seriously by any sort of disaster but especially disasters brought on by hurricanes. No Caribbean country is alone when preparing for hurricanes and dealing with the aftermath,” she said. Noting that Caribbean countries shared a common apprehension and anxiety during the Atlantic hurricane season, Francis-Vaughan said they did not have to be lobbied during times of crisis, since they rushed to each other’s aid...Read more 

Interesting Facts 

Half of climate action plans neglect people in danger, say researchers  

Governments are failing those most at risk from climate change by not placing them at the heart of efforts to adapt to more extreme weather and rising seas, researchers said in a report on the U.N. development goals, calling it “a critical concern”. The analysis of progress made by 86 countries found that just over half their strategies aimed at building climate resilience overlook groups bearing the brunt of environmental pressures, such as indigenous people and low-caste Indians. The index from the London-based Overseas Development Institute (ODI) assessed whether countries are on track to meet a commitment to “leave no one behind”, a key pillar of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agreed in 2015... Read more  

Improving disaster response through Twitter data 

Improving disaster response through Twitter dataTwitter data could give disaster relief teams real-time information to provide aid and save lives, thanks to a new algorithm developed by an international team of researchersA team of researchers from Penn State, the Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, and the Qatar Computing Research Institute created an algorithm that analyzes Twitter data to identify smaller disaster-related events, known as sub-events, and generate highly accurate, real-time summaries that can be used to guide response activities. The group presented their paper—"Identifying Sub-events and Summarizing Information from Microblogs during Disasters"—today (July 10) at the 41st International Association for Computing Machinery's Special Interest Group on Information Retrieval Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval in Ann Arbor, Michigan... Read more       

Friday, July 6, 2018

July 6th

Upcoming events 

II Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Cooperation Authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" to take place from September 20-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-SEDI), as technical secretariat for the ministerial process of cooperation in order to facilitate the logistical arrangements for the participation of ministers, high authorities, and special guests informs the Cooperation Authorities, through the Permanent Missions of the OAS Member States, that the second meeting of ministers and high-level cooperation authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" will take place from September 20th to the 21st, 2018 in Washington D.C. 

What happened this week?

Beryl Becomes 'Very Tiny' First Hurricane Of Atlantic Season 

The Category 1 hurricane Beryl, the first of the 2018 Atlantic season, strengthened from a tropical depression to a hurricane within 24 hours. By midday Friday, Beryl was churning about 1,000 miles east of the Lesser Antilles in the eastern Caribbean; it's expected to reach land by late Sunday or early Monday. Forecasters say the storm is likely to maintain its hurricane status as it approaches and crosses the islands. "It is possible that we could have hurricane watches up for some of those islands by tonight," said Robbie Berg, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center. Beryl had maximum sustained winds of 80 mph on Friday afternoon as it churned across the water. "The hurricane force winds only extend outwards about 10 miles from the center, and the eye itself is about 5 miles wide" Berg said. "So that's just a very tiny system. We don't see many hurricanes that small." And yet, Berg said the conditions ahead of Beryl could allow it to strengthen a bit over the next few days as it heads for the island chain extending from the Virgin Islands to Grenada...Read more 

The 10th International Congress on Disasters held in Cuba

The 10th International Congress on Disasters was held in Cuba this Tuesday to strengthen collaboration in preparing and protecting countries against the risks of adverse climatic events. Major General Ramon Pardo, head of the National General Staff of Civil Defense, said that the event's organization shows Cuba's interest in gathering authorities, scientists and professionals from all over the world dedicated to work to reduce disaster risks. Pardo also pointed out the event aims to exchange knowledge and results on good practices, as well as to showcase experiences of the work being done in the Caribbean nation to reduce vulnerabilities and build resilience....Read more 

Climate Change Tops Agenda at CARICOM Leadership Transfer

The Chairmanship of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) today passed to Jamaica's Prime Minister from Haiti's President Jovenel Moïse, who concluded his 6-month leadership of the regional bloc. Mr. Moïse, during his term as Chairman, prioritized disaster preparedness and rallied regional and global support for innovative financing for risk management efforts for Caribbean countries - particularly in seeking funding for a regional sovereign disaster insurance program called the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF). Through CCRIF, governments can access funds swiftly following a disaster striking. Following Mr. Moïse's leadership on the issue, climate disaster risk management and insurance are now permanent agenda items at CARICOM. He also renewed commitment toward strengthening the Caribbean Disaster and Emergency Management (CDEMA). ...Read more 

Interesting Facts 

Regional Platform Advances Sendai Framework Implementation in the Americas  

Image result for cartagena declaration unisdrThe Sixth Regional Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas which convened from 20-22 June in Cartagena, Colombia, concluded with the adoption of the Cartagena Declaration. The Cartagena Declaration aims to spark an increase in the number of national and local strategies for disaster reduction in the region by 2020. It calls for integrating DRR in all activity areas to promote more resilient communities and reduce vulnerability in the region, and urges UNISDR to continue providing institutional support for implementation, monitoring and review of DRR in the Americas and the Caribbean. The event provided the space for actors in the region to exchange experiences regarding implementation of the Regional Action Plan, a guide for implementing the Sendai Framework in the Americas, which aims to align regional, national and local strategies with the Sendai Framework, and accelerate country-level implementation of the DRR agenda... Read more  Read the Cartagena Declaration  

Cuba, Haiti to Work Together in Reducing Disaster Risks 

Cuba and Haiti agreed to consolidate their collaboration in disaster risk reduction management through sharing knowledge and training as part of South-South cooperation.
According to authorities of the United Nations World Food Program (WFP), both nations maintain similar levels of exposure to natural phenomena such as hurricanes, cyclones and drought. Cuba  has accumulated experiences and methodologies to reduce the negative impacts of these disasters, and among Cuba's contributions to Haiti is the strengthening of hydro meteorological surveillance through the transfer of tools to improve monitoring and forecasting of events. Channels and communication routes have been identified to ensure that participants at all levels receive the information generated by the monitoring institutions in a timely manner. Also, Haitian technicians were trained in the monitoring of extreme weather events, and Haiti improved its hurricane monitoring and forecasting capabilities, which facilitates decision-making... Read more       

Cuba, Dominica Strengthen Bilateral Ties, Agree to Work on Disaster Preparedness  

Skerrit thanked the Cuban government for its collaboration, especially the help offered by the rescue workers, doctors, construction personnel and other staff in the post-Hurricane Maria recovery efforts. Cuban head of state, Miguel Diaz-Canel, and the Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit met at the Presidential Palace in Havana Tuesday as the countries work to strengthen bilateral ties and collaborate on disaster preparedness initiatives. During the meeting, Skerrit thanked the Cuban government for the assistance it offered when Dominica was battered by hurricane Maria last year. Cuba was among the countries to provide aid to the island, sending rescue workers, doctors, construction personnel and other staff in the post-Hurricane Maria recovery efforts that devastated the Caribbean island last year. Cuban and Dominican specialists have agreed to work on one of Dominicans' main issues, flash flooding, and lay down a strategy to reduce the impact heavy rains have on the country's drainage system. In June, Cuba sent a contingent of 80 builders and engineers to repair schools and homes, in response to the government's request to continue with the process of recovering from the damage caused by Hurricane Maria... Read more       

Friday, June 29, 2018

June 29th

Upcoming events 

II Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Cooperation Authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" to take place from September 20-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-SEDI), as technical secretariat for the ministerial process of cooperation in order to facilitate the logistical arrangements for the participation of ministers, high authorities, and special guests informs the Cooperation Authorities, through the Permanent Missions of the OAS Member States, that the second meeting of ministers and high-level cooperation authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" will take place from September 20th to the 21st, 2018 in Washington D.C. 

What happened this week?

OAS and Chile Announce First Call for Applications for the Scholarships on International Disaster Response for CARICOM Countries 

The Organization of American States (OAS), in partnership with the Academy for International Disaster Preparedness of Florida International University (FIU), is offering a Disaster Field Operations Course on July 13 – 15, 2018. Citizens of CARICOM member states are encouraged to apply for scholarship consideration by June 27, 2018. The course is intended to provide participants with the knowledge and skills needed to engage in an international disaster response, in true-to-life field settings. Working professionals with backgrounds or work-related duties in emergency management and disaster response, including first responders in firefighting, law enforcement and EMS, emergency management employees, policymakers and program directors, urban planners, NGOs, public health workers and private sector professionals will be considered. The project is being implemented with funding support from the Government of Chile through its policy of international cooperation for development. The aim of this project is to strengthen the capabilities of CARICOM member states in Disaster Risk Management (DRM), Climate Change Adaptation (CCA) and Climate Resilience through certified courses, training programs and diplomas. 
The OAS recognizes that education is fundamental to the development of human capital, improvement in standards of living, and the promotion of social inclusion, social justice and prosperity. Accordingly, the OAS, through its Secretariat for Integral Development supports the efforts of OAS member states to expand access to inclusive and quality education...Details on scholarship  Read press release

Interesting Facts 

Lessons Learnt from 2017 Caribbean Hurricane Season 

french_welcomes_participants_to_lessons_learnt_session_1The outcomes of the review, “Lessons learnt on Early Warning Systems during the 2017 Caribbean Hurricane Season,” were presented during the Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas, taken place in Colombia from 20-22 June 2018.  The session was named “Priority Investment Opportunities to strengthen Early Warning Systems in Small Island Developing States.” The World Meteorological Organization along with regional partners the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) and the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and a gender expert led the review as part of the Climate Risk and Early Warning Systems (CREWS) initiative. 
The review found that forecasts were generally accurate and timely. However, the rapid change in intensity, especially for Hurricane Maria in Dominica, posed a real challenge. Warnings of secondary hazards, including flooding and coastal inundation were insufficient and should be improved to include impact-based forecasting. “Key findings to date that need to be addressed with some urgency include greater investment in national meteorological services to strengthen their physical and communications infrastructure, data collection networks, human and technical capacity as well as interactions with the public. While the anticipated CREWS investment strategy will address these areas of investment, it remains important that national authorities sustain the benefits of this investment,” said Mr Farrell. In terms of dissemination and communication of warnings, it was found that the risk assessments and response plans were not sufficiently connected. Risk knowledge, including the risk of river flooding and storm surge, was limited.  While a hurricane alert gives information about the intensity of wind, thresholds for secondary hazards still remain to be identified.  The review recommended that there should be follow-up into whether the message is actually received and understood... Read more       

Jamaica welcomes 'glorious opportunity' to host the next Regional Platform on Disaster Reduction in the Americas

Jamaica’s hosting of the next Americas disaster risk reduction conference is a “glorious opportunity” to raise awareness of the challenges facing the small island developing states of the Caribbean, said Desmond McKenzie, Minister of Local Government and Community Development. The Vl Regional Platform on Disaster Reduction in the Americas, held in Cartagena, Colombia, June 20-22, decided to convene the next forum in Jamaica. It is the first time that a regional platform will be held in the Caribbean, one of the world’s most vulnerable regions to extreme weather events and seismic activity. “It is a glorious opportunity, not just for Jamaica, but for the region as a whole to have a real platform for expression of our positions on disaster risk and all the associated issues,” the minister said. McKenzie said the forum will raise awareness locally, regionally and internationally of the Caribbean’s position. “To be honest many of these platforms do not afford the Caribbean the kind of exposure that is required. So, I think the hosting of a conference within the Caribbean will give greater appreciation to its needs,” he said... Read more       

Tourism industry in Americas, Caribbean prepares against tsunami risk 

Tsunamis may be rare in the Americas but they do happen as the region is highly seismic prone. A dozen earthquakes of magnitude 7.0 or greater have occurred in the Caribbean near Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Hispaniola in the past 500 years generating more than 75 tsunamis. “We do see a general increased tsunami awareness now as the tourism sector and governments are starting to feel more vulnerable to weather related disasters,” said Amanda Charles, from the Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) at a session on how to reduce tsunami risk in the tourism sector held at the Sixth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in Cartagena, Colombia last Friday.
“The tourism sector is realizing how much they can lose when disasters happen. Some are also beginning to understand that resilience can be an additional competitive advantage as well,” added Charles. “Countries such as Anguilla and the four islands of British Virgin Islands are now Tsunami ready.  St. Kitts and Nevis have annual drills, inundation and tsunami evacuation maps and Puerto Rico has developed a tsunami safety card for tourists which is accessible and distributed in hotels. “Those are considerable progresses even if we can still see some resistance from countries too cautious to scare tourists and with too many assets located in areas vulnerable to tsunamis,” Charles said.... Read more       

Jamaica Charged to Adopt Gender-Sensitive Response to Climate Change  

Canada’s High Commissioner to Jamaica, Her Excellency Laurie Peters, has called on countries of the region to adopt more gender-sensitive measures in reducing vulnerability and building resilience against climate change. She said that this can be done by integrating gender issues into policies, programmes and activities, with specific focus on empowering women and girls.

“Canada wants to see a climate smart region… that promotes environment and climate action by advancing women’s leadership and including women and girls in the planning and decision-making process,” she said. Ms. Peters was addressing a workshop dubbed ‘Conversations on Gender. The Role of Gender in Building Climate Resilience in Jamaica’, at the Waterloo Road location of the Canadian High Commission in Kingston on Tuesday (June 26). She noted that it is Canada’s hope that this inclusive approach will support initiatives that will both mitigate and adapt to climate change and also create economic opportunities for women... Read more

Friday, June 22, 2018

June 22nd

Upcoming events 

II Meeting of Ministers and High-Level Cooperation Authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" to take place from September 20-21, 2018 in Washington, D.C.

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the Organization of American States (OAS-SEDI), as technical secretariat for the ministerial process of cooperation in order to facilitate the logistical arrangements for the participation of ministers, high authorities, and special guests informs the Cooperation Authorities, through the Permanent Missions of the OAS Member States, that the second meeting of ministers and high-level cooperation authorities "Strengthening capacity for development cooperation and partnerships: Building resilience to disasters" will take place from September 20th to the 21st, 2018 in Washington D.C. 

What happened this week?

The Sixth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the Americas : UNISDR head calls for more inclusion in DRR

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction and head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, Mami Mizutoritold the opening of the three-day Vl Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction in the Americas that the issue of inclusion will be a significant area of discussion at the regional platform. A key topic at the conference will be implementing a target of the global plan for reducing disaster losses, the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, calling for a substantial increase in the number of countries with national and local strategies for disaster risk reduction by the year 2020, the UNISDR chief said. Effective disaster risk management requires an “inclusive, all-of-society approach” that reflects the views of those who suffer most from such events and policy makers must heed the “voices of those who suffer disproportionately in such events. People living with disabilities, older persons, women, children and indigenous groups need to be consulted and engaged"...Read more   

Interesting Facts 

Five cities in the Americas to take part in the "Making cities sustainable and resilient: Implementing the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk reduction 2015-2030 at the local level" program

Representatives of five cities in the Americas met this week in Colombia at the Sixth Regional Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction to discuss progress against the Sendai Framework, the global plan to reduce disaster losses by 2030. Santo Domingo Este in the Dominican Republic, Guayaquil in Ecuador, Guatemala City in Guatemala, San Juan de Lurigancho in Peru and Tegucigalpa in Honduras are among twenty cities that have been chosen globally to take part in a three-year program called Making cities sustainable and resilient: Implementing the Sendai framework for Disaster Risk reduction 2015-2030 at the local level, launched in 2016.  The initiative, launched by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), the United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat) and the European Commission, supports local governments to better manage disaster risks.... Read more

Guatemala earthquake mapped: Where did the earthquake hit? Could there be more?  

Map of where the earthquake struckFollowing on from the devastating eruption that covered Guatemala in volcanic mud, ash and lava, a magnitude 5.6 earthquake struck on Sunday, June 17 according to the United States Geological Survey (USGS). On June 17 at 10.32pm local time (3.32am BST) a magnitude 5.6 earthquake shook Guatemala, at a depths of 100 km according to the USGS.  This is just two weeks since Guatemala’s Volcan de Fuego (Volcano of Fire) erupted explosively, raining down ash and pyroclastic flow on residential areas. The epicenter of the earthquake was close to the Pacific Coast, less than 18.7 kilometers from Escuintla. Escuintla was an area that had incurred the most deaths and injuries following the eruption that began two weeks ago. This is 67 km southwest of Guatemala City, Guatemala’s capital. Following Sunday’s 5.6 magnitude quake, residents have been warned to stay prepared for aftershocks. As the volcano has recently erupted, the likelihood of earthquakes remains high with the volcano shifting and settling... Read more       

No, World Cup Fans Didn't Trigger an Earthquake. Here's Why.  


Mexico’s victory over Germany in an early World Cup game on Sunday caused quite the stir in Mexico City. At 11:35 am, when Hirving Lozano scored the game-winning goal at a match in Russia, seismometers in Mexico City picked up a spike in seismic activity. Mexico’s Institute of Geological and Atmospheric Research claims these tremors were caused by thousands of soccer fans jumping up and down in celebration, but some scientists are not so sure. “It was probably a person, or people, jumping up and down next to the [seismology] station,” says Xyoli Pérez Campos, who heads Servicio Sismológico Nacional (SSN), Mexico’s national seismological service. Campos says the vibrations picked up by the seismometers do not resemble an earthquake, man-made or otherwise. “People [jumping] can generate vibrations, but they look very different on the record than an earthquake,” says Campos. Seismometers have picked up sounds and vibrations from boisterous crowds before, but no synchronized celebration has ever been able to trigger a true seismic event, according to William Yeck, a geophysicist with the U.S Geological Survey... Read more       

Thursday, June 14, 2018

June 14th

Upcoming events 

Organization of American States (OAS)-Amazon Web Services (AWS) Webinar: Overview of the AWS Disaster Risk Management Program  

The Executive Secretariat for Integral Development of the OAS in its on-going efforts to build the resilience of member states to disasters has been exploring opportunities for collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), particularly with a view to reducing disaster-related business interruptions and enhancing overall business continuity. In order to better prepare member states to avail themselves of the considerable expertise, know-how and experience of AWS' within the Americas in disaster risk management capabilities and the suite of products that is has developed, the OAS and AWS has jointly convened a webinar for June 18th, 2018 at 10:00 am (EST) in English and at 2:00 pm (EST) in Spanish. The webinar, targeted towards disaster risk management officials in the Caribbean, will be delivered by Maggie Carter and Abby Daniell of AWS Latin America, Canada and Caribbean Public Sector Team

The agenda is as follows:

1. Overview of AWS Disaster Risk Management program
  • Disaster Relief by Amazon and Amazon Business initiatives
2. Summary of AWS Projects in Latin America and Caribbean
  • St. Kitts Pilot Project
3. Presentation of AWS Products - Snowball Edge
4. AWS Volunteers - Net Hope collaboration
5. Procurement Considerations
6. Legal and Compliance Considerations
7. Questions and Answers

 Please click here to register 

What happened this week?

Guatemala: Volcán de Fuego Eruption Situation Report (as of 13 June 2018)  

The Volcán de Fuego  continues to register seismic activity, specifically avalanches and eruptions. The National Institute for Seismology, Volcanology, Meteorology and Hydrology (INSIVUMEH) is constantly monitoring the volcano and has not yet ruled out the possibility of more pyroclastic flows of similar or greater severity than those recorded since the beginning of the emergency. The National Coordination for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) estimates that 966 homes have been affected. The families will be relocated once authorities determine a suitable location. First responders continue to find the deceased in their search and rescue efforts. Municipal authorities and the local community are deciding whether not to now designate the affected area as a cemetery ground. The Humanitarian Assistance and Aid Coordination Centre (CCAH) has followed up with the various offers of aid from foreign governments and the international community that have come in after calling for international aid. Countries such as Canada, Honduras, Mexico and the United States have provided aid. International search and rescue personnel have been aiding as well, working in the most affected areas
Per the Red Cross (as of 12 June, 2018), there are 1,714,373 people affected, 12,823 people evacuated, 110 people killed, 3,557 people sheltered, and 197 people missing...Read more   

Interesting Facts 

Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), World Bank partner to increase disaster resilience through improved procurement

Acting on lessons learned from a devastating 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the World Bank are partnering with governments of countries in the Region to harness public procurement to improve disaster preparedness and response. A recent World Bank study found that disasters impact gross domestic product in developing states, at a rate 20 times higher than in industrialized nations, causing greater disruption and severe consequences for vulnerable members of society.
“At the heart of the issue, is the management of the procurement and contracting process within the public sector,” Cheryl Dixon, Coordinator, Environmental Sustainability Unit, CDB told regional procurement and emergency response officials attending a Procurement in Emergency Situations workshop at the Bank on June 4 and 5.
With natural hazards increasing in frequency and intensity, Dixon stressed the importance of a greater understanding of why procurement under these conditions is unique, adding that too often, public procurement frameworks and systems do not give sufficient attention to procurement in the context of disasters... Read more

Combination of Climate Change and Inequality Increasingly Drives Risk  
floods 2010 pakistanA combination of climate change and rising levels of inequality is a key driver of risk in the world today, and the convergence of these two factors calls for heightened attention as they pose an existential threat to the survival of the poor, especially those living in climate risk zones. This was the key finding of a discussion involving UN experts at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum in Bonn this week.
Poor people are more vulnerable to the negative impacts of climate change and have fewer resources to adapt. In 2017, many countries in Latin America, the Caribbean, South Asia, and Africa were confronted with disastrous consequences of hurricanes, floods, and droughts. Thousands of people lost their lives, while millions were displaced and were left scrambling for basic necessities, including food and water. Owing to the gravity of the situation, the UN Human Rights Council last year adopted the UN Resolution on Human Rights and Climate Change, calling on member states and non-state actors from the private sector to address the human rights of climate-affected people... Read more       

Friday, June 8, 2018

June 8th

What happened this week?

Guatemala volcano eruption death toll: Why was Fuego eruption so deadly? 

Images from the volcano aftermath Volcan de Fuego (‘volcano of fire’ in Spanish) erupted on Sunday resulting in a devastating pyroclastic flow which obliterated everything in its path. So far, at least 109 people have been confirmed dead and hundreds are still missing. A second eruption on Tuesday sent rescue workers scrambling for cover, proving just how dangerous and unpredictable the situation still is. Officials have issued warnings of hazards still presented by falling ash as well as the risk of ash clouds to aviation. Pyroclastic flows are fast-moving currents of extremely hot gas and volcanic matter that pour down volcanic slopes at incredibly high speeds. They contain a mix of hot lava rocks ranging from pebbles to boulders, pumice, ash and volcanic gasses.  Pyroclastic flows can reach speeds of up to 430mph and temperatures of about 1,000 degrees Celsius. While a pyroclastic flow doesn’t leave much chance for survival as it is, there were a few additional factors at work here which put the people of Guatemala at risk. Katharine Cashman, Professor of Volcanology at the University of Bristol said: "We have been seeing over the past few years there were more frequent paroxysmal eruptions - or sudden outbursts. “Because there’d been these smaller paroxysms, the valleys had been filled with material.  So if the valleys are full, when the bigger flows come down they just immediately overflow and that’s what appears to have happened.”... Read more

June 5th: World Environment Day - Latin America and the Caribbean bids good-bye to plastic bags

World Environment Day logo: Beat Plastic PollutionOn May 30th, Chile became the first South American country to approve a nationwide ban on single-use plastic bags, garnering congratulations from around the world for its efforts to beat plastic pollution ahead of World Environment Day on June 5th. The ban will come into force in one year’s time for major retailers and in two years’ time for smaller businesses. Several other countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are using taxes, bans, and technological innovation to restrict the production and consumption of plastic bags and reduce their harmful impact on oceans and marine species. Antigua and Barbuda was the first country in the region to ban plastic bags in 2016. Soon after, Colombia passed a similar ban, and in 2017 applied a tax to large plastic bags, while ordering changes to their design with the aim of achieving greater resistance and reusability. Colombia’s neighbor, Panama, became at the beginning of 2018 the first country in Central America to ban polyethylene bags. The country is also drawing up a national plan to combat marine litter. Costa Rica adopted a national strategy to drastically reduce the use of disposable plastics by 2021, while in the Caribbean, Belize, Bahamas and Bermuda have passed or are drafting laws to eradicate single-use plastics. Ecuador aims to transform the remote Galápagos Islands into a plastics-free archipelago: no more plastic straws, bags or bottles will be sold or used after 21 August of this year. In Peru, several bills on the issue of plastic bags are debated in Congress. The most recent, prepared by the Government, seeks to reduce the consumption of this product by 35 per cent during the first year of implementation...Read more   

June 8th: World Ocean Day - World overwhelmingly commits to protecting the oceans and Clean Seas   

Image result for world ocean day 2018World Oceans Day is celebrated annually on June 8th, to raise global awareness of the state of the oceans and aquatic life, and advocate for individual and policy action for healthy seas. This year, in line with World Environment Day celebrated on June 5, the theme of World Oceans Day is centered around preventing plastic pollution – 8 million tonnes of which ends up in the world’s ocean’s every year. On this World Ocean Day, June 8th, nations are showing an unprecedented commitment to healthy, thriving oceans and seas, free from plastic pollution. With eight new countries having joined UN Environment’s Clean Seas Campaign in the past week, Clean Seas is now the largest global compact for combating marine litter, with commitments from 51 nations covering 62% of the world’s coastlines. Other countries who pledged this week to step up their protection of the ocean and their coastlines include Argentina, Cote d’Ivoire, United Arab Emirates, Honduras, Guyana and Vanuatu...Read more   

June 8th: World Ocean Day - Latin American and Caribbean countries champion marine conservation

Image result for hammerhead sharksSeveral countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are protecting millions of square kilometers of seas in some of the world’s most biodiverse zones. Marine protected areas are one of the best tools to safeguard the health of our oceans and stop overfishing, pollution and acidification. They bring ecological benefits, but also great economic gains. Studies show, for example, how a a single hammerhead shark sighted in the Isla del Coco, in Costa Rica, generates up to $1.6 million during its life thanks through eco-tourism. There are more than 15,300 marine protected areas on the planet, covering an area of ​​26.3 million square kilometers, equivalent to 7.2 per cent of the total ocean surface, according to the Protected Planet report.
The so-called Aichi Target 11, set by the Convention on Biological Diversity, recommends the protection of at least 10 per cent of marine and coastal areas by 2020. Brazil, Mexico, Chile and Colombia have already surpassed this target. Brazil was lagging behind, but last March made a major announcement. The country decided to protect almost 1 million square kilometers around the archipelagos of São Pedro and São Paulo, in the central Atlantic, and the submarine volcanic chain that connects the islands Trinidad and Martin Vaz, further south.  The designation increased the Brazilian marine protected areas from the current 1.5 per cent to 24.5 per cent...Read more   

Interesting Facts 

Guatemala volcano alert too late to save lives, officials admit 

Emergency personnel retrieve the body of a victim of the volcanic eruption in Guatemala -- so far, at least 99 people are known to have diedA communication breakdown between a disaster agency and volcanologists in Guatemala delayed evacuations as gas and ash clouds cascaded down the Fuego volcano last Sunday in its most violent eruption in four decades, authorities have admitted. Compounding the situation, rain and clouds hid signs of the toxic shower of debris, known as a pyroclastic flow, hurtling down the mountainside, hindering visual observation. While the poor visibility delayed villagers’ own reactions to the impending danger, 27 miles (43 km) away in Guatemala City, disaster authorities failed to understand the magnitude of the eruption, meaning the alert level leading to mandatory evacuations was not raised quickly enough, the heads of the responsible government agencies admitted on Wednesday. That meant people were left in their homes for hours after the dangerous flows began and has led to opposition calls for criminal charges and resignations. Guatemala’s public prosecutor said on Thursday that it would open an investigation into whether protocols were followed to inform proper decision-making in the handling of the disaster. In a tense meeting at Guatemala’s Congress on Wednesday, the head of the country’s volcanology institute accused his counterpart at disaster agency CONRED of failing to heed bulletins warning that Fuego was dangerously erupting. CONRED chief Sergio Cabanas accepted the evacuation order was late, but blamed the volcanologists for not being explicit enough that the situation was dangerous... Read more
International interest in Jamaica's crisis management center 

Development of a Global Resilience and Crisis Management Center in Jamaica to deal with climate-related issues has been attracting attention from international financial and academic interests, says Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. First announced during the UNWTO Global Conference on Sustainable Tourism in St James in November 2017, the center, which is the first of its kind, will be tasked with creating, producing and generating toolkits, guidelines and policies to handle the recovery process following a disaster. Bartlett noted that academic institutions on “every continent” are also showing interest in the center. They include Queensland University in Australia; Hong Kong Polytechnic in Hong Kong; Bournemouth University in the United Kingdom; and universities in the United States such as George Washington and Harvard. “We know already that the tourism leadership — World Travel and Tourism Council, Pacific Area Tourism Authority, United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), Caribbean Tourism Organization, and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association — have all already committed and support this resilience institution,” he pointed out... Read more