The Italian Government has agreed to provide financial support to the Government of Saint Lucia for a state-of-the-art Flood and Hazard Early Warning System and Information Centre. The agreement between the two countries was formalised during the recently concluded Signing Ceremony for the Paris Agreement at UN Headquarters in New York, by Saint Lucia’s Sustainable Development Minister Hon. James Fletcher and his Italian counterpart, Hon. Gian Luca Galletti.
The Early Warning System will involve the establishment of a multi-hazard Information Centre for natural disasters forecasting and early warning that combines information derived from multiple ground and satellite sources and provides concrete information on upcoming extreme weather events and their potential impacts over the island.The Centre will provide the following services:
- Extreme Weather Events Forecast and Early Warning (rainfall events included)
- Flood Hazard Mapping and Alerts
- Multi-hazard risk assessment (land slippage, droughts etc.)
- Fisheries Control
- Oil spill detection
- Forest Monitoring
The Centre will be supported by state-of the-art operational capabilities such as COSMO-SkyMed 7, which is a constellation of four radar satellites, funded and designed by the Government of Italy and used by Government institutions and industry worldwide in numerous operational scenarios, many of which are related to natural disasters alert and response systems. There will also be support by On-Demand-Mapping-Services for Emergency; the unique industrial operational capability of providing rapid pre and post event maps, worldwide, based on the analysis of satellite images acquired immediately after an event.
The support from the Government of Italy comes as a result of a request made by Saint Lucia’s Minister for Sustainable Development, Hon. James Fletcher, in a meeting with the Italian Environment minister and other senior officials from the Italian government in New York at UN Headquarters in September of last year (2015). During that meeting Dr. Fletcher requested assistance to help Saint Lucia deal with the impacts of extreme weather events, particular flooding and landslides that caused loss of lives and severe damage to property and livelihoods.
The project was designed by an Italian company E-Geos, which will be responsible for the installation of the equipment and the training of the Saint Lucian officers who will use it. The project is expected to provide Saint Lucia with sophisticated technology that will allow the country to predict the likely impacts of threats from climate change, while at the same time create the basis for the development of a ‘centre of excellence’ for the study of the effect of climate change and the use of geospatial systems. The project will be funded by the Italian Government and the total project cost is Euro 2.5 Million.