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'Climate change, a hard reality', says Dominica PM

Thursday, October 12, 2017

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ROSEAU, Dominica (CMC) — Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has once again urged the international community to not “turn its back” on the problem of climate change but to address it in a “meaningful way”.

Skerrit, in his address to mark International Day for Disaster Reduction (IDDR), being observed on Thursday, said this year's theme “Home Safe Home”, resonated strongly with the Caribbean people who have just experienced hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

“Home Safe Home” is also a strong reminder that in 2017 millions of people around the world have been displaced by drought, floods, storms, wildfires and earthquakes. These events often deprive people of the ability to earn a living as well,” Skerrit said.

“Today, thousands in Antigua and Barbuda, Anguilla, Cuba, St Maarten, St Thomas, the British Virgin Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are without a roof over their heads, and lack adequate access to water, schools, medical services, or roads.  And too many are in mourning for lost loved ones.”

“Hurricanes not only destroy property and take lives, they leave psychological scars. The howling of the wind, the sound of a roof lifting; these are experiences many never forget,” the prime minister said.

Skerrit noted that the population of 72,000 people living on Dominica have all been affected by disasters.

“The only way we can reduce the number of people on this island from being disaster affected is to build back better to a standard that can withstand the rainfall, wind intensity and degree of storm surge which we can now expect from tropical storms in the age of climate change.”

He said Dominica's aim to become the world's first climate-resilient nation, but this must be done with the international cooperation.

“We are among those countries which contribute least to climate change but over the last two years we have suffered the consequences of two devastating storms which have left us struggling to stay on the path of sustainable development.”

“On International Day for Disaster Reduction we ask that the world does not turn its back on this problem but starts to address it in a meaningful way through reducing greenhouse gas emissions and investing in climate action and disaster risk reduction for small island developing states where unique ways of life are in danger of extinction,” Skerrit said.

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