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St. Lucia Joins In World Meteorological Day Observance

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006 – St. Lucia will join member countries of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on Thursday March 23rd , for the observance of World Meteorological Day.

Since its establishment 56 years ago, the WMO has provided support for a number of programmes and initiatives, that directly benefit local and regional efforts at preventing and mitigating natural disasters. Incidentally, the theme chosen for this year's observance is ‘Preventing and mitigating natural disasters’.

In a national address to mark the observance, Minister with responsibility for Meteorological Services in St. Lucia Honorable Felix Finisterre, said the level of tropical cyclone activity during recent hurricane seasons and the severity of individual hurricanes, necessitate a national wake-up call. He said the effects of global warming and climate change, will most likely present a host of new challenges in the future.

“It is an indisputable fact that natural disasters contribute to socio-economic decline. It is also a well-known fact that small island developing states such as ours are even extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and hazards and that their impact on our social and economic growth can be utterly devastating. The continuing struggle of our sister island Grenada, to recover from the destruction caused by Hurricane Ivan is a prime example. We in St. Lucia have suffered serious damage from a number of natural hazards and disasters over the years,” he added.

He said the socio-economic distress that resulted from the disasters in the Caribbean over the years, “must serve as lessons and impel us as a nation to develop effective strategies to prevent and mitigate against future events of a similar nature.”

In this regard, Government through the Ministry of Communications, Works, Transport and Public Utilities have supported and implemented a number of disaster prevention and mitigation measures. “We have strengthened the capacity of our Met Service by upgrading and strengthening the staffing structure as well as the provision of specialised equipment to ensure continuity of our Met services irrespective of weather conditions. We continue to provide leadership and support to NEMO in the implementation of its programmes,” Finisterre said.

He added that the ongoing flood mitigation works in Castries and Anse la Raye, the coastal protection works at the Dennery Waterfront and the upgrading of the island’s road network are part of government's disaster prevention and mitigation measures.

The Minister applauded the staff of St. Lucia's Meteorological Services for their excellent service to St. Lucia over the years.

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