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Italy Explores Disaster Warning System For Caribbean

Hurricane Wilma - one of the many hurricanes to hit the Caribbean Islands. Photo courtesy of AFP.
by Staff Writers
Georgetown, Guyana (AFP) Apr 06, 2006
Italy on Tuesday agreed to explore the possibility of establishing a disaster early warning system for the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom).

Signing the agreement on Cooperation in Hydrometeorological Monitoring, Natural Disaster and Early Warning were Italy's Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Giampaolo Bettamio and Caricom's Deputy Secretary General, Lolita Applewhaite.

"This scientific cooperation agreement will launch a feasibility study, which we anticipate will provide benchmarks on those areas for the establishment of a modern hydro-meteorological monitoring system, more popularly known as an early warning system, in the Caribbean," said Applewhaite.

Many Caribbean islands were hard hit by hurricanes during the past two years and some scientists forecast that the underwater volcano just off Grenada, Kick 'em Jenny, could possibly trigger a tsunami. The Caribbean island chain is also vulnerable to volcanoes and earthquakes.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA), Caribbean Meteorological Organisation (CMO), Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology, and the Caricom Climate Change Centre are expected to be involved in Italy's feasibility study.

"My government is ready to give support to this project and is ready to give support in projects of food security and we hope that this is a good start for our cooperation," said the Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs.

US scientists forecast Tuesday that five of the nine hurricanes expected this year in the region would be major storms and there would also be 17 tropical storms. There were 13 hurricanes last year.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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