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Disaster management

Red Cross volunteers unload tarpaulins at Owen Roberts International Airport, Grand Cayman

Six British Overseas Territories in the Caribbean face a real threat from natural disasters. That’s why British Red Cross Overseas Branches in each Territory are strengthening their own ability to respond, and making the communities they help more resilient. And when disasters do happen, the Branches have shown they are ready to make a real difference to people in crisis.

A region at risk

Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Montserrat, the British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, and the Turks and Caicos Islands are in a region particularly vulnerable to natural disasters and the effects of climate change. The Territories’ population of around 200,000 people face the threats of hurricanes, floods, mudslides, landslides, volcanic eruptions, extreme weather and higher sea levels*.

A vulnerable population

Many people in the Territories live on low incomes, in poor quality housing or in coastal areas at particularly high risk from the effects of disasters. The islands are also home to large numbers of migrant workers who may lack language skills, nearby family members and access to government support. Other vulnerable groups include people who are homeless, old or living with a disability. The islands also attract large numbers of tourists, many with no experience of hazards like hurricanes or floods.

* From 1991 to 2005 countries in the Caribbean represented 10 of the 50 nations hardest hit by natural disasters, as measured by economic damage as a share of GDP (http://www.unisdr.org/disaster-statistics/top50.htm).

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Preparing for disasters

Volunteer helping woman down stairs

How is a new programme helping Overseas Territories become better prepared for disasters, and more able to deal with the effects of climate change?

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