Thursday, January 24, 2008

Regional risk mapping workshop

Over the next four days, the Turks and Caicos Islands Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies, in collaboration with the Caribbean Risk Management Initiative and the United Nations Programme, will be hosting a Regional Technical Workshop in "Risk Mapping and Planning in Coastal Zones".

Like other countries in the region and elsewhere, the Turks and Caicos Islands are susceptible to natural hazards, though mainly from the threat of seasonal hurricanes, passing tropical storms and their effects, and flooding -- primarily from heavy rain. These threats and vulnerabilities affect seriously on low-lying countries such as the TCI, along with climate change, the rate of development; these too create an increasing risk.

The TCI coastal zones are the economic lifeblood of the Islands and with tourism and tourism related development representing almost 50% of the GDP, it is an extremely important area.

The Department of Disaster Management, the responsibility of both the Governor's Office and the Ministry of Public Affairs, sees this workshop as both timely and a need, allowing those participating to not only go away with only knowledge of the TCI case, but also assess how they too can be adequately prepared. Moreover, this workshop is also important for developers, physical planners, and land users - who see the TCI as a place for potential development.

The Turks and Caicos Islands Government (TCIG) has recognised the vulnerable position the country is in, and holds the view that if unnecessary disruption and destruction affects the sustainable development of TCI are to be avoided; then greater effort are to be provided to ensure the protection of the our citizens and our assets, whether they be social or economic.

Taking place in Providenciales, an opening ceremony brought the start to the workshop, which drew delegates from 11 Caribbean nations, including Mexico and Suriname.

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