CREWS Caribbean Project Delivers on Marine Services and Flood Management

Two milestones were reached in May in Trinidad and Tobago in the Climate Early Warning Services (CREWS) Caribbean Project. The first related to the tailoring of end-user marine services, the second to implementing better community flood management practices.

Marine hazards in Trinidad and Tobago include coastal flooding (such as storm surge), extreme sea levels, dangerous sea-state, extreme maritime weather (such as hurricanes), Every year, the island-state incurs damages and losses from the impacts of such hazards, which scientists predict will increase in intensity and frequency as global temperature rises. Thus, the Trinidad and Tobago Meteorological Service (TTMS) is facing greater demand for better marine meteorological information and services from its coastal population and from marine and maritime-based economic sectors. To meet this challenge, the CREWS Caribbean Project, in collaboration with the Caribbean Meteorological Organization (CMO) and TTMS organized a three-day workshop for both islands on Improving Marine Meteorological and Oceanographic Services. The first day of the workshop was in held in Tobago, the second and third in Trinidad. Local end-users participated on the first day in each island, the third day was only for TTMS forecasters.

In Tobago, more than 25 end-users from the fisheries, tourism and national security sectors participated, expressing their urgent need for localized, real-time knowledge and for impact-based forecasts. On the next day in Trinidad, over 30 end-users from diverse sectors – fisheries, port authorities, academia, oil and gas, etc. – expressed similar needs but requested additional forecast parameters, improved access to information on websites and other communication channels, more regular and standardized information, and better Marine Early Warning Services and policies. The user requirements were analyzed on the third day of the workshop before the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) provided training to TTMS forecasters, which highlighted the support it provided in the region.

As a result, marine and ocean meteorological services capacity has been strengthened in both Trinidad and Tobago and there is a closer relationship between the service providers and end-users. The way is paved for a more user-oriented service provision. The workshop outcomes will inform the first phase of the TTMS Marine and Ocean Meteorological Services Programme, lay the foundation for improving user engagement and increase TTMS’ visibility and resources mobilization efforts at the governmental level. TTMS assessments of the impacts of environmental change in ecosystems, weather and climate will also contribute to decision-making for better management and protection of ocean and coastal resources. This will further strengthen the early warning capacity, contributing to the UN Early Warnings for All (EW4All) Initiative and the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Thus, the workshop was a major milestone achievement in the marine services area for CREWS Caribbean Project.

Flood management

Another aim of the CREWS Caribbean Project is to improve flood response capabilities in high-risk flood prone Trinidadian communities. The Project targeted communities that had benefited from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Strengthening Community Flood Early Warning Systems project in Trinidad and Tobago.The Trinidad and Tobago Red Cross Society, CMO, TTMS and WMO worked together in collaboration with the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Rural Development and Local GovernmentDisaster Management Unit and the Trinidad and Tobago Water Resources Agency toward this milestone.

The first objective was to increase flood related information and coordination between TTMS, the Water Resources Agency, the Disaster Risk Management authorities, community members and other local organizations, especially in the Sangre Grande area of Trinidad. To enhance community-based flood management and response capabilities a one-day workshop was held in Sangre Grande. During the workshop, community members discussed flood preparedness, including the appropriateness of the stakeholders involved, instructions received, and the engagements that had taken place to prepare the actions to be taken in various emergency situations.

Like the marine workshop, this workshop also helped to close gaps between the service providers and the community members in the flood risk areas. Both groups came together to install flood-markers in the area, which will be helpful the community to identifying safe locations for the storage of valuable goods, for the evacuation of the local population during floods and for the construction of new homes. During this interaction with the local community, data was also collected on previous flood events. Thus, the CREWS Caribbean Project took a big step forward to reach a milestone on flood management in Trinidad and Tobago.


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