Barbados is being urged to take matters of climate change seriously since it could have a significant impact on the country’s ability to respond to natural disasters.
The comments were made by Deputy Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit, Dr. Lorna Inniss, while delivering a presentation on the topic: Are You Ready For a Disaster Like a Hurricane or Tsunami? to the Christ Church West District Emergency Organisation at the Accra Beach Hotel and Spa last Saturday.
Dr. Inniss stressed that climate change was already occurring, and small islands around the world, including Barbados, were experiencing the effects of climate change more than others.
"Barbadians do a good job at ignoring climate change even though it has been addressed for many years," she lamented.
Dr. Inniss revealed that she would be heading to Tuvalu next month to give advice in addressing the country’s climate change problems, a situation which all Barbadians should take note.
Tuvalu, located within the Pacific Ocean, had already relocated a significant part of its population from the coast because of sea level rise, and was now asking Australia to allow them to use Tazmania to relocate climate change refugees.
"Imagine if we [Barbados] start to retreat from the coast. Barbados does not have that much land space. That is why the islands are faring worse than the inland countries," she said.
Dr. Inniss warned that changes occurring throughout the region included a loss of coastal vegetation and dying coral reefs as water temperatures continued to rise. "What we are seeing is that the coral reefs are becoming more and more vulnerable. They are dying at a high rate in Barbados and across the world."
But, she cautioned that as natural barriers died, Barbados and the region would be more exposed to natural hazards such as storm surges, winter swells and tsunamis. "When a tsunami hits a coral reef it loses energy and causes the wave to break," the Deputy Director explained.