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How to take early action in the eastern Caribbean to avoid climate extremes becoming disasters

Written by Mairi Dupar, Emily Wilkinson, Lena Nur


Extreme weather events are becoming more intense in the Eastern Caribbean. Early action can stop climate extremes from turning into disasters.

A video by ODI, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and Ramboll produced for the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the Agence Française de Développement (AFD) under the Adapt’Action programme, explains how governments can take early action to reduce disaster losses.

New types of impact-based forecasts can highlight how people and places will be affected by extreme weather. These forecasts can provide information two or three days before a tropical storm hits, or further ahead, in the case of heavy rainfall, heat and drought.

If the forecast shows that a pre-determined threshold will be reached and a disaster is imminent, then decision-makers can trigger early action to target help exactly where it will be needed.

Eastern Caribbean governments are already working to reduce disaster risk, but some risks will always remain. Here’s how they can better manage these ‘residual risks’:

  1. Governments and their partners can assess how extreme weather might affect communities and businesses and register people and decide in advance the trigger points for early action (based on temperatures, rainfall, storm surge or wind speeds, and the impacts these hazards are expected to have on people, property, crops, and infrastructure).
  2. Governments can get early action plans ready, which involve actions to reduce impacts and respond more quickly, when there’s a severe weather alert.
  3. Governments and aid agencies can stockpile and position supplies and equipment so they can be distributed quickly to emergency workers.
  4. Governments can line up funds for quick release when the trigger is reached. National governments should hold reserve funds that can be released before small-scale emergencies; but when a major emergency is anticipated, they may have to call on regional institutions and funds for support.

With more coordination and early action of this kind, the eastern Caribbean can reduce disaster losses and look forward to a more climate-resilient future.

The film is based on a study by ODI, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre and Ramboll for the AFD Adapt’Action programme.

Animation written by Emily Wilkinson, Mairi Dupar, Lena Weingärtner (ODI), and Janot Mendler de Suarez and Catalina Jaime (Climate Centre). The authors assume full responsibility for the contents. The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Agence Française de Développement, Organisation for Eastern Caribbean States or their members and partners.