Why an early-warning system for floods is important

Source(s): Newsday - Daily News Limited

Flooding across Trinidad in the opening days of the rainy season was an unpleasant reminder that flood early warning systems are imperative to protect property, save lives and mitigate the economic and social impact of flooding.

The role of early warning systems becomes particularly important in light of the vulnerability which faces Trinidad and Tobago as a Small Island Developing State in the Caribbean. Its geographical location, low-lying coastal plains and tropical climate all feed into the well-established root causes of flooding.


In addition, squatters have encroached on watersheds and flood-prone coastal lands. Given the complex historical land tenure issue and high cost of housing in the country, approximately 55,000 households occupy state lands while an additional 30,000 households are on private lands in similar areas.


These losses spread across infrastructure, agriculture, and private property. In October 2018, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) reported an estimated 150,000 people from 4,100 households were impacted and approximately 75 percent of farmers in the country were severely affected through the loss of crops and livestock.


It encompasses high tech hardware and software, including seven stream gauges to monitor river levels, three antennae to expand the communication platform and one high-speed computer to produce flood models within 24 hours.


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Hazards Flood
Themes Early warning
Country and region Trinidad and Tobago
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