SEATTLE — As Hurricane Irma ripped its way through multiple locations, Guadeloupe is among the islands consumed by the storm’s wrath. Irma has been recorded as the strongest storm ever to be recorded in the Atlantic Ocean by the U.S. National Hurricane Center. With this extreme case of weather, it is important to determine how to help people in Guadeloupe who are affected by the hurricane.
On Sep. 6, regional authorities for Guadeloupe and neighboring islands stated that the fire station that assists the small countries is under three feet of water and rescue vehicles are unable to be used. While families and tourists in the country file into shelters, the impact of the hurricane creates long-lasting effects on the economy.
With Guadeloupe’s economy relying heavily on the agriculture and tourism industries, the importance of reducing the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather is crucial. The cost of inaction in regard to climate change could result in a GDP loss of 2.3 percent by 2025 for the nation.
To understand how to help people in Guadeloupe, the cause of the extreme weather must be understood. The OECD has stated that climate change is the root of the increasing frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events like Hurricane Irma.
For countries like Guadeloupe, the climate-related events will increase the world’s population living in extreme poverty. With increased levels of dramatic weather events, countries could experience reduced access to drinking water, negative impacts to health services, relocation and food insecurity. With these possible outcomes, the global phenomenon of climate change has the largest impact on the most vulnerable people and the poorest nations.
With Guadeloupe facing heavy flooding, electricity loss and infrastructure deterioration, Hurricane Irma should be used as a signal for the necessity of preventing further climate change. The OECD proclaims that “the task ahead is to increase the adaptive capacity of affected poor communities and countries.”
Ways to Help
Fortunately, the French National Observatory Adaptation Strategy of 2006 proactively addressed how to help people in Guadeloupe by promoting government activity focusing on climate change adaptation. However, Irma highlights that the threat of climate change is real and happening, no matter the preemptive preparation made.
To best protect those who are unable to help themselves, an international effort must be made to reduce the man-made impact on the environment. By consciously reducing the carbon pollution levels that are affecting the global temperatures and natural systems, countries like Guadeloupe will have a more optimistic future.
– Tess Hinteregger