SIDS and the rising seas

Small island developing states should be well advanced by now in planning for climate change. A crucial decision is to move disaster response agencies and key ministeries inland and away from the coast. Schools need to be retrofitted as community protection centres powered by photovoltaic solar energy. Communication systems need to be storm-proof.

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Maria’s death toll in Puerto Rico more than 5700

A recent review of the additional mortality in Puerto Rico associated with the destruction caused by Hurricane Maria in September 2017 has sharply revised the numbers upwards–by almost two orders of magnitude. Most deaths occurred after the hurricane had passed–and are due to the failure of health care systems because of power outages, water shortages, and communication black-outs.

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The disaster files – 2017

2017 was not a record a year for disasters. Not in terms of fatalities at least. The devastating hurricanes that flattened so many Caribbean islands and caused massive damage in the US thankfully caused far fewer deaths than many other disasters in the recent record. But the impact on many small Caribbean islands was catastrophic. The numbers show that the 51 Small Island Developing States are hugely vulnerable to climate change.

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