Dominican Republic ill-prepared for disasters: How much better is Barbados?

Weather - CaribbeanOver in Santo Domingo is a situation which leads one to wonder about here in Barbados – on the eve of this year’s hurricane season serious weaknesses are being brought to the forefront of the DR’s capabilities. These include a lack of meteorological radars in key locations around the country and the government’s failure to implement risk mitigation projects. A seminar on disaster prevention held yesterday revealed that the lack of equipment in the country and governmental delays in converting plans into reality are serious deficiencies.

National Meteorological Office (Onamet) director Gloria Ceballos said that her institution needs a weather radar system in the northwest in order to monitor conditions in that area and in Haiti. It costs US$1.5 million and is supposed to complement a similar system in the east.

Government there has not given priority to these issues, according to Daniel Urena from the European Union Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO) in the Dominican Republic, who said that he doubted that the government had given priority to this equipment in their requests for technical and financial assistance.

Urena criticized the fact that the country could not develop the National Emergency Fund due to its delay in approving the regulations for the use of the budget support from outside sources. He said that the failure to comply with this bureaucratic step has prevented RD$200 million in funds from the Spanish Agency for Cooperation from entering the country.

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