Preparing for extreme weather in the Caribbean: what role for forecast-based early action?
The increasingly severe impacts of cyclones, floods and drought in the Eastern Caribbean necessitates a rethink in the way OECS member states prepare for disasters and build longer-term resilience. Preparedness plans are typically out of date and disaster risk management agencies have limited resources. As a result, actions taken when extreme weather is forecast are ad hoc and incomplete. Establishing a framework for forecast-based early action could help address these weaknesses in preparedness and reduce disaster impacts. Such a framework would link impact-based forecasts with early action plans, disaster risk finance and predefined channels for targeting assistance to vulnerable groups. There is huge potential to pool resources and strengthen coordination of preparedness at the regional level, as well as enhancing national preparedness systems. Options include creating a regional savings scheme to ensure reliable funding for early action and response, and developing a regional shock-responsive social protection system. This scoping study and its accompanying joint work plan are intended to help development partners to enhance disaster preparedness and reduce the humanitarian and economic impacts of extreme weather in the Caribbean.