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WEBINAR: Flooding and climate change in Jamaica – risk to vulnerable communities


CDKN webinar: Flooding and climate change in Jamaica, risk to vulnerable communities

The recording of this webinar will be uploaded shortly.

Flooding from extreme rainfall events is one of the major natural hazards affecting Jamaica and other small island states in the Caribbean. Jamaica has already experienced several major floods and climate-related hazards in the last decade; the social and economic cost of which has been estimated at US$18.6 billion. Increases in the intensity and frequency of extreme weather events associated with climate change are a major risk to national infrastructure, development progress and the welfare of vulnerable communities.

Despite this very real threat, current flood maps in Jamaica are out of date, education on flood safety is poor and adaptive capacity in flood-prone communities is low. A new project, implemented by the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, is attempting to tackle these deficiencies.

In this webinar, hosted by CDKN, Dr Arpita Mandal of UWI presents the results from this research project which focuses on the vulnerable communities along the Yallahs river, as well as communities around the Orange River watershed in Negril. The project aims to create improved flood preparedness models for these two watersheds, using information from past extreme rainfall events to create maps to plan for future flood risk. The ultimate goal was to model extreme events and create five, ten and 25-year flood risk maps for both present and future climate projections.

In the webinar, Dr Mandal discusses the challenges that communities are facing as a result of climate change and the importance of working with communities and adapting the results of models to their daily lives.

The map-based decision-making tool is designed to assist policy-makers in creating or revising effective flood mitigation measures, evacuation strategies and national disaster risk management plans. The tool is also intended to help determine the adaptation measures that communities can take in response to increasing flood risk and to protect the most vulnerable.

About the presenter

Dr Arpita Mandal is a lecturer in the Department of Geography and Geology, University of the West Indies, Mona Campus in Kingston, Jamaica.  She has a PhD in Geology with a specialisation in Hydrogeology and Geochemistry and she is a teacher in the undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. Her work aims to understand the impact of climate change on the water sector in the Caribbean islands. Dr Mandal’s current work focuses on National Adaptation Strategies for the water sector for the islands of Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda. Ongoing work also involves the Climate Change and Adaptation Strategy for the Agriculture sector for Jamaica.  Dr Mandal’s research been published in academic journals as well as in consultancies both within and outside the Caribbean. 

 

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