IOM in the Caribbean region is recognised as a robust actor in preparedness, disaster risk reduction and emergency response and works in close coordination with government entities, international and national organizations, civil society organizations and communities at regional, national and local levels. The vision and the activities of IOM in the Caribbean link to the 3 pillars of the IOM Strategic Vision: Resilience, Mobility and Governance. This Caribbean Crisis Response Plan is mainly geared towards increasing the resilience of individuals, families, communities, institutions and populations to withstand shocks and stresses linked to environmental and biohazards. The preparedness and disaster risk reduction (DRR) work will tie in with longer-term initiatives in the region to make the region safer for all.
The Caribbean has been historically recognised as one of the regions of the world most prone to a wide range of natural hazards, including hurricanes, floods, landslides, occasional earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The island states are particularly susceptible to these events, due to common factors such as the small and tourism-dependent economies, the topography, the geographic location, as well as the relative lack of comprehensive land-use and environmental protection regulations. Over the last 20 years, disasters have directly affected 12 million people in the Caribbean on average, and not a single year has passed in which disasters in the Caribbean have not claimed lives. Hurricane Maria and Irma in 2017 and Dorian in 2019 have caused significant loss of lives, displacement and billions of dollars in damages to the economy, infrastructure and houses which have to be repaired after each event.
The countries and islands targeted under this Crisis Response Plan (Bahamas, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Commonwealth of Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago) for the Caribbean are home to approximately 33 million people. Apart from Guyana, which is located on the continent, all the countries and territories covered by this Plan are small island developing states (SIDS) or small island overseas territories. The Caribbean islands are very diverse in culture, state of development, size and demographics. Fifteen states are organized in The Caribbean Community (CARICOM or CC) which has the primary objectives to promote economic integration and cooperation among its members, to ensure that the benefits of integration are equitably shared, and to coordinate foreign policy.
The Caribbean has witnessed numerous waves of migration throughout history, the effects of which have shaped current day society in each respective country in unique manners. The current migration trend is from countries with a lower GDP per capita like Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Cuba toward high-income countries like The Bahamas, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the United States of America. The region is beset by high unemployment, ageing demographics, high levels of non-communicable diseases, persistent gender inequalities, xenophobia and crime. The life expectancy in the Caribbean is 75 years for women and 70 years for men which is lower than the wider Latin America and Caribbean ( LAC) average.
- International Organization for Migration
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