Thu | Dec 12, 2019

Climate resistance must become priority – Sotirova

Published:Thursday | June 27, 2019 | 12:19 AMChristopher Serju/Gleaner Writer

Jamaica was hit by 26 natural disasters of varying intensity and severity between 1993 and 2003, with total losses and damage amounting to US$2.22 billion or 1.5 per cent of the country’s average annual gross domestic production over the period.

Disasters are expected to increase in frequency and severity due to climate change; therefore, addressing risk of disasters, managing them better, building better structures and making all systems more resilient, must become not only a key priority, but a critical top priority, according to Galina Sotirova, country manager, World Bank.

An important element of proper preparedness is the ability to manage data better, Sotirova told Tuesday’s signing ceremony for the design, supply and installation of an S-Band Weather Radar system at the Terra Nova All-Suite Hotel, St Andrew.

Gov’t approves contract

Cabinet approved a $2.4-million contract to Enterprise Electronics Corporation, a US-based global leader in weather radar technology, for the design, supply and installation of a S-Band Doppler-capable weather radar to be operated by the Meteorological Service of Jamaica (MSJ). The civil works will be done by local firm Comtron Jamaica Limited and the installation is projected to take 14 months.

It is the single largest contract under the Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project, funded by the Climate Investment Funds through the World Bank Group. A weather radar is an effective system for monitoring weather events, including extreme rainfall, and is essential in providing real-time information to the MSJ by detecting precipitation in the atmosphere.

“Knowing exactly when, where and how weather patterns are changing is important. It protects lives, livelihoods and infrastructure.

“The radar will further strengthen climate monitoring, weather forecasting and early-warning systems, and will enhance the capacity of the country to predict and prepare for various climate change-related and natural hazards,” Sotirova noted.

Jamaica has benefited from the Improving Climate Data and Information Management Project as shown by the reduced potential for loss of life, property and recovery costs across the country. In particular, in highly vulnerable areas such as the Bog Walk Gorge, early-warning systems, which were supported by the project, were utilised on several occasions for the benefit of the local population.

“The investment has already supported the installation of 35 automatic weather stations across the country for the Meteorological Services of Jamaica, real-time data hydro-met system by the Water Resources Authority, to name a few.

“Today marks a significant milestone with design of the procurement and signing of the contract for the installation and operationalisation of the Doppler radar system,” the World Bank country manager acknowledged.