Barbados, September 27, 2016 – As a number of the Participating States of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) brace for the pending impact of a tropical weather system, the Agency has once again taken the lead to coordinate the Regional Response Mechanism (RRM). To this end, CDEMA in collaboration with the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) convened a pre-strike meeting of the Eastern Caribbean Development Partner Group (ECDPG) at 12:00 noon today, Tuesday September 27, 2016, to plan for possible scenarios in preparation for the impact. Partner agencies who are members of this group including regional and international donors and development partners are monitoring the system.
The CIMH provided technical understanding of the system by defining the implications for countries in line of the impact. The CDEMA Coordinating Unit has been in contact with the National Disaster Coordinators (NDCs) in Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago. A number of actions have been taken by each country including meeting of the heads of all sub-committees of the national disaster system such as the essential services including first responders in preparation for any likely impact. Information and updates from the local Meteorological Offices have been regularly shared with the national disaster management offices and the media. The National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) for Barbados and Grenada will be activated later tonight in response to the threat of the current weather system.
“We are in the peak hurricane season and therefore expect that systems are still likely to develop which may threaten several of our Participating States. We are therefore monitoring the development of INVEST 97 given the current exposures and vulnerability in several of our Eastern Caribbean States and Haiti”, said Mr. Ronald Jackson, Executive Director of CDEMA.
An organised tropical wave system is approaching the Eastern Caribbean and is likely to be developed into a tropical depression or storm later tonight. According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), Miami, Florida, environmental conditions are favorable for continued development, while the system moves westward to west- northwestward at 15 to 20 mph. Countries in the eastern and central Caribbean Sea, including the northern coast of South America are being urged to monitor the progress of this disturbance, since warnings and watches could be required at any time.
CDEMA will continue to monitor the system and provide updates as is necessary. The Regional Coordination Plan has been activated. Specifically, the CARICOM Disaster Assessment and Coordination (CDAC) team and the CARICOM Operational Support Team (COST) have been placed on standby to provide response assistance. CDEMA is equipped to offer support through the mobilization and deployment of the CDAC and COST to its Participating States and stands ready to respond as required.