CDEMA: Watch where you allow people to build

Regional states have been advised to pay attention to issues of sound development planning and look at where they allow people to build.

The advice has come from the Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Ronald Jackson.

CDEMA has been telling states in the region to view the recent observance of the first anniversary of Tropical Storm Erika in Dominica as a reminder of the vulnerability of small coastal communities to natural disasters.

The storm was the deadliest natural disaster in Dominica since Hurricane David in 1979.

It claimed 31 lives and destroyed up to 500 homes.

Several communities were cut off from the rest of the island, and the Roosevelt Skerrit administration was left with an EC $1 billion bill to repair infrastructural damage.

Barbados Today quoted CDEMA Executive Director, Ronald Jackson as saying that in the case of Dominica, there were a number of homes that were precariously sited within the confluence of the flood hazard itself.

“That’s something that’s not only in Dominica.  It’s something that we’ve seen in many of the vulnerable island states across the region, from the bigger ones like Jamaica, all the way to St Lucia, St Vincent and Dominica.,” Jackson observed.

He added that countries needed to go beyond the enactment of legislation and policies, and they needed to ensure that such measures were monitored and enforced

“So the development planning process, the approval process, the development control process is something that has to be looked at across the region as it relates to disaster risk,” Jackson said.