Jamaica urged to build climate resilience
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Resident Representative to Jamaica, Denise Antonio, says building climate resilience and properly planning for disasters "is very critical [now] more than ever."
Antonio, who was speaking during the UNDP's semi-virtual resilient series, Fireside Chat, at the organisation's country office in Kingston last Thursday, said that climate change continues to affect the frequency and intensity of weather events.
"According to the [International Monetary Fund] IMF data, between 1950 and 2016, there were 511 disasters worldwide, and 324 of them happened here in the Caribbean, killing about 250,000 people and affecting more than 24 million people through injury, loss of lives, loss of homes and of their livelihoods," Antonio informed. "So, our region is seven times more likely to be hit by natural disasters and sustain damage to [gross domestic product] GDP, six times higher than any other large nation in the world."
Antonio's comments were made the same day the Atlantic hurricane season began.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is forecasting a busy hurricane season with 12 to 17 named storms at winds of 39 miles per hour (mph) or higher. Of those, five to nine could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including one to four major hurricanes at Category 3, 4 or 5, with winds of 111 mph or higher.