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Disaster Resilience in the Eastern Caribbean

Disaster resilience in the Eastern Caribbean is critical as the region is highly vulnerable to natural disasters, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions. These disasters can cause massive destruction, loss of life, and displacement of populations.

However, the Eastern Caribbean countries have been building disaster resilience through various initiatives, such as enhancing early warning systems, improving emergency response capabilities, and promoting disaster risk reduction measures.

In recent decades, the wider OECS region has been devastated by several hurricanes. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines experienced a series of volcanic eruptions with dire consequences for human life, the natural environment, social stability and economic growth and development. Climate change in the OECS Region has indicated more intense storms, floods and droughts.

The OECS Commission is committed to assisting Member States, individually and collectively, in their efforts to build climate and disaster-resilient, low-carbon economies taking several initiatives to build disaster resilience in the region, including the following.

  1. Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy: The OECS has developed and implemented a comprehensive Disaster Risk Reduction Strategy to identify and address the risks and vulnerabilities of the region. The strategy involves a multi-sectoral approach integrating disaster risk reduction into development planning, policy, and practice.

  2. Early Warning Systems: The OECS has established a regional early warning system that uses advanced technologies to monitor weather, seismic, and volcanic activity and alert member states of potential hazards.

  3. Disaster Preparedness and Response: The OECS has developed and implemented disaster preparedness and response plans at the national and regional levels. These plans include training and capacity-building activities for emergency responders and the general public, stockpiling essential supplies and equipment, and establishing coordination mechanisms for rapid response.

  4. Building Codes and Standards: The OECS has collaborated with member states to develop and enforce building codes and standards that promote the safety and resilience of infrastructure and buildings. These standards include guidelines for designing and constructing hurricane-resistant buildings, retrofitting older structures, and incorporating green technologies.

  5. Partnerships and Collaboration: The OECS has established partnerships and collaborations with international and regional agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), and the World Bank. These partnerships have facilitated access to funding, technical expertise, and knowledge-sharing to support programmes that strengthen disaster resilience in the region.

The Commission, therefore, works with Member States and several development partners to design, support and implement enabling frameworks, programmes and projects at the regional, national and local levels. 

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