State Minister LaRoda – “with improving and expanding our early warning systems and our styles of communication, we can reduce damage, save money, and most importantly, save lives”

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The Hon Myles LaRoda, Minister of State in the office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction addressing a Disaster Risk Reduction Summit held Thursday, October 13, 2022 at the Baha Mar Resort. (Staff photo/Patrick Hanna)

The Hon. Myles LaRoda, Minister of State in the office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction affirmed The Bahamas is moving towards implementing early warning systems as a mitigating tool in the fight against natural disasters. He made the statement at a Disaster Risk Reduction Summit held Thursday morning, October 13, 2022 at Baha Mar Resort. There, a Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation and Exchange was signed between the University of The Bahamas and the University of Hawaii facilitating research and training in disaster risk reduction.

The event coincided with ‘International Day for Disaster Reduction’ – October 13, which is set aside by the United Nations to encourage countries to build more disaster resilient communities.

“I am delighted to welcome you all to the first recognition of the International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction in The Bahamas. And today we gather to recognize and speak about the theme: Early Warning Systems,” he said. State Minister LaRoda continued, the Government of The Bahamas is resolute in evolving its disaster management procedures and protocols to mitigate or lessen the impact of hazards—natural or otherwise: “While the hazards and risks we face cannot be prevented, we must continue to strategize to prepare and rebuild our communities in the face of a hazard, and a way to do this is through developing and implementing early warning systems in our holistic approach to disaster
management.”

He shared that the UN reports that by 2030 the world could face one-and-a-half disaster events a day. But less than a third of the world’s population is covered by early warning systems. Early Warning Systems are regarded as an adaptive measure to hazard impact and climate change. It is a system that allows warning information to be generated and disseminated in a timely and meaningful manner to individuals, communities and organizations threatened by a hazard, with the purpose to give them sufficient time to prepare and act.

“Increasing the availability and advancing technology in early warning systems is more urgent than ever,” Mr. LaRoda noted, adding that The Bahamas Department of Meteorology along with public and private partner organizations have introduced and implemented several innovative early warning systems in The Bahamas.

“Our Early Warning Systems assist public officials and our team in the long run in our disaster risk reduction efforts,” he remarked, adding: “with improving and expanding our early warning systems and our styles of communication, we can reduce damage, save money, and most importantly, save lives.

“If we develop and utilize Early Warning Systems that are multi-hazard focused, end-to-end, and people-centered we will continue to build resilience across countries that are most at risk.

“Now is the time to put words into action, because only together can we make progress to a more safe and resilient country,” State Minister LaRoda said.