Socio-economic and political constraints on disaster preparedness in the Eastern Caribbean

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After centuries of political and social development, the proliferation of independent and semi-autonomous states, a large number of isolated decision-making centres, in the form of island goverments have emerged in the Caribbean region. These governments zealously guard their autonomy and sovereignty. A situation which poses serious considerations with respect to the management of natural hazards such as volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Also, most of the island economies are heavily dependent on agriculture and tourism, which are extremely susceptible to the disruptions which occur during a volcanic eruption, an earthquake and aftershocks. These natural hazards provide little time for rehearsing during actual events, therefore, it is imperative that socio-economic and scientific studies be carried out in anticipation of major hazards. These studies would then produce contingency plans for dealing with such hazards. The political initiatives required to implement and advance plans relating to disaster preparedness cannot proceed satisfactorily without such studies.
Prepared for: UCLA International Conference:Impact of Natural Disasters. July 10-12,1991
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Hazard management