The effects of climate change is expected to cause severe weather conditions and possible create more powerful hurricanes for Organization of Eastern Caribbean (OECS) member states this year.
The OECS member states have been urged to prepare for more extreme weather conditions and natural disasters as a result of climate change.
St. Lucia’s chief sustainable development officer, Crispin d’Auvergne, issued the warning during his contribution to a panel discussion at an OECS climate change forum in Dominica, on the weekend.
According to d’Auvergne, a 2008 environmental study showed that while St Lucia sees an average of one to two Category 4 or Category 5 hurricanes per year, it is likely to increase to four or five hurricanes of that magnitude each year.
Citing another study, he said rainfall in the Caribbean is expected to increase by 25 to 50 percent in the next five decades. These extreme weather patterns will become “the new normal”, he said, adding that because the frequency and intensity of extreme weather conditions is likely to increase, the Caribbean should plan accordingly, preparing for more severe natural disasters like droughts, hurricanes and floods.
After Dominica was devastated by Tropical Storm Erica in August 2015, the Minister for Health and Environment, Dr. Kenneth Darroux, said Dominica had never seen a disaster of such proportions in terms of damage to infrastructure and the loss of life. Infrastructural damage was estimated at $1.4 billion. Minister Darroux said the storm caused the government to revisit its land use, policies, and regulations.