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SVG to benefit from OECS led project

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Individuals and institutions in St Vincent and the Grenadines stand to benefit significantly from an Organization of the Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) led initiative to combat the impact of climate change on developing countries in the subregion.

Kedahli Crichton of the Physical Planning Unit in the Ministry of Housing also noted that through the Global Climate Change Alliance (GCCA) project, a number of community and institutional level consultations dealing with the building code and strengthening the enforcement and cooperation between the financial sector and the unit are being held.

He said that these consultations are intended to help create better quality buildings by putting more quality control-based metrics in construction by adhering to proper building codes.

“Adherence to the building code is the only guarantee that there has been the minimum standard of quality to combat weather, earthquakes and tectonic plate movements… Adherence to the code is what allows you to have safety,” said Crichton, who explained that the GCCA project seeks to make sure that persons realize that what happens on land affects what happens in the sea and vice versa.

“We are trying to pull everything together and we have all of these processes going on and the ultimate aim after everything is to update our planning laws to reflect all the lessons we would have learnt,” Crichton stressed.

He added that they are hoping to see how communities will react to certain ideas, which would allow them to develop a methodology for putting climate change in the realm of more definitive planning in SVG.

SVG has over the years experienced a number of climate change issues, including a drought in 2010 that was followed by 119.1 inches of rain, making that year the wettest on record.

The drought followed by the rainfall represented two disasters, as was seen with the numerous landslides that isolated several communities on the windward side of the island and severely disrupted vehicular traffic.

Hurricane Tomas, on October 30, 2010, occurred late in the season, reinforcing the fact that SVG must be prepared at all times for an emergency — even outside the stipulated hurricane period, Crichton added.

The post-Tomas assessment by the United Nations estimated the damage to agriculture, forestry and housing at $130 million. While still recovering from Tomas, a surface trough on April 11 and 12, 2011 dumped about 9.6 inches of rain in Rabacca, Perseverance and Jennings, resulting in severe flash flooding and the displacement of 18 families that cost the country about $82 million.

Then on December 24, 2013, this country experienced “a hundred-year” weather event that claimed 12 lives, while last year severe flooding caused millions of dollars in damage on the Windward side of the island, emphasizing the importance of the GCCA project.

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