Despite their low contribution to global GHG emissions, the Caribbean nations are facing severe climate change threats.
As developing economies rely on climate-vulnerable sectors like tourism, agriculture and fishing, climate change impacts like the ongoing sea level rise, changes to rainfall patterns, rising temperatures, and the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters will significantly affect the countries in the Caribbean.
Small island countries in the Caribbean, such as Grenada, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, are highly exposed and vulnerable to the impacts of hurricanes. These countries need to improve their hurricane preparedness to reduce its impacts. Preparations include making an emergency plan with families and neighbours, assembling an emergency kit, securing their homes, and others.
But this vital information does not always reach the people that it needs to because of communication barriers.
To improve communication and ensure that critical information around disaster preparedness reaches all the people concerned, a partnership between relevant institutions and international organisations – the World Bank Urban, Disaster Risk Management, Resilience and Land Global Practice, the National Emergency Management Organizations (NEMOs) of Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, and Pacifico, a risk communications agency to create a multi-platform strategy.
This multi-platform strategy includes creating effective communications campaigns such as audio messages distributed in local radio stations targeting various audiences and age groups. It also used social media platforms to disseminate designed pieces on multiple disaster preparedness, local figures, and regular and everyday language targeting diverse groups and communities to ensure that the information reaches them.
Training on how to use software applications to monitor disasters, online mapping, and audience building in new social media platforms was also provided to public officials from several Caribbean countries—including Grenada, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines to ensure that communication efforts are sustained over time.
A simple online quiz on preparing for hazards and disasters was made available for locals to answer to help them translate information into action.
In the end, these communication campaigns and strategies have been successful in terms of their reach – “the number of views, impressions, and estimated radio audiences, represented eighteen times the combined population of the three countries, signalling an important result toward building awareness and communications skills in hurricane preparedness in the Caribbean.”
Messages and information campaigns like what the Caribbean countries implemented can help people understand the hazards and give them information on how to prepare for them, which is vital in reducing losses and saving lives.
Read the article to learn more about the Caribbean’s communication campaign by clicking the link provided in the “Source” section below.
Varotto, F., Carrasco, N., Kahandawa, S., & Nuesch, E. (2023, March 31). Preparing for hurricane season: Lessons learned from risk communication to behavioral change. World Bank. Retrieved from https://blogs.worldbank.org/latinamerica/preparing-hurricane-season-caribbean
Building Resilience to Climate Change in Small Island Developing States. (2022). Inter-American Development Bank. Retrieved from https://www.iadb.org/en/ove/climate-change-caribbean-small-island-states