KINGSTOWN, St Vincent — In the wake of the devastating flooding that has inundated parts of Trinidad and Tobago and left thousands stranded, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) Commission has expressed its readiness to share its disaster mitigation knowledge with the people and government of the twin island state.
Speaking from the OECS heads of government meeting in St Vincent and the Grenadines, OECS director general, Dr Didacus Jules, said the OECS expressed its sorrow and stood in strong solidarity with the government and people of Trinidad and Tobago at this difficult time.
“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,” Jules said.
He continued: “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.
“The most valuable course of action we 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, Saint Lucia, BVI, Nevis and Dominica as examples.
“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 $100 billion dollars by 2020 to galvanize local community disaster mitigating initiatives that combined can ensure Trinidad and Tobago and the wider region becomes more climate resilient.”