THE CARILEC membership body throughout the Caribbean Region and beyond, survived the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season with minimal devastation or catastrophic damage. Current scientific and medical research indicates the continuation of the COVID-19 pandemic well into 2021, notwithstanding breakthroughs with the vaccines, and increased frequency and intensity of weather systems, due to climate change and global warming.
It is therefore imperative that CARILEC members and the wider Caribbean Region remain particularly vigilant, even outside of the hurricane season. This state of preparedness and vigilance is essential, as we continue to navigate through this multi-hazard environment. At this critical juncture, CARILEC reaffirms its commitment to supporting its members in the areas of mutual assistance and disaster management through the CARILEC Disaster Assistance Program (CDAP), health, safety and environment (HSE) management and capacity building.
The recently concluded tropical cyclone season has been described by meteorological officials as the most active and seventh costliest one on record, with 30 named storms, of which six intensified into major hurricanes. Within the region and the CARILEC membership, Belize and Bermuda were hit by hurricanes Nana and Paulette (respectively), both category one hurricanes.
While the effects of both hurricanes were not utterly devastating, Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) did report power outages in several communities in Southern Belize and Bermuda Electric Light Company (BELCO) reported that over 20,000 residents lost power for a period of time. CARILEC is pleased to report that both member utilities restored power to affected communities, within a timely manner and without requiring external assistance.
CARILEC also takes this opportunity to extend its sincere gratitude to our regional and international partners; the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Caribbean Association of National Telecommunications Organisations (CANTO), the CARICOM Secretariat, the Caribbean Water and Sewerage Association (CAWASA), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and the European Union Delegation to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean for their continued collaboration and support in areas of mutual interest.
We look forward to continuing this collaborative effort in 2021 and beyond, alongside our members and regional partners, local disaster offices and government agencies to mitigate multi-hazard and disaster-related outcomes and to work towards the overall improvement of the lives of all Caribbean people.