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Grenada to benefit from CCRIF web monitoring application

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by Linda Straker

  • CCRIF Web Monitoring Application to help analyse impact of natural hazards
  • WeMAp components monitor rain, cyclone, earthquakes and provide real-time forecasting

Grenada and other members of the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) will be able to quickly analyse the impact of natural hazards such as excessive rainfall, hurricanes and earthquake through its Web Monitoring Application.

CCRIF has launched a web-based platform through which its members can monitor earthquakes as well as the development of potentially damaging heavy rainfall and tropical cyclones, analyse their intensity and assess their impact, as well as check whether an active insurance policy with CCRIF is likely to be triggered.

Called the Web Monitoring Application or WeMAp, this application is made up of four components or tools:

  • Excess Rainfall Monitoring Tool for rain events (including but not limited to cyclonic events);
  • Tropical Cyclone Monitoring Tool for wind and storm surge events induced by tropical cyclones;
  • Earthquake Monitoring Tool for seismic events, and
  • Real-Time Forecasting System (RTFS) for tropical cyclones – now updated from the version that was previously provided to members during the hurricane season each year.

“WeMAp is based on the new CCRIF SPHERA model, which underpins CCRIF’s tropical cyclone and earthquake parametric insurance policies and the CCRIF Excess Rainfall (XSR) 2.5 model, which underpins the excess rainfall policies,” said a news release from CCRIF.

The release said that current users made use of the tools during the passage of what was then Tropical Storm Dorian which passed by Barbados late Monday, 26 August 2019, and which is impacting other countries in the region.

The release said that the first three tools monitor actual data, while the Real-Time Forecasting System shows the expected future development of active tropical cyclones.

“Therefore, the data displayed in the RTFS are in reference to forecasts and weather model predictions and policymakers and disaster risk managers can use the information provided by the RTFS component to assist with contingency planning by providing a preview of what might happen if a given storm continues along a projected path, and activate appropriate contingency plans based on this insight,” said the release.

Other areas of monitoring are shelter management by identifying impact areas and shelter locations to support shelter allocation decisions and determining emergency interventions by identifying areas where populations are at risk so that decision-makers can issue warnings and plan for assistance.

During an active rainfall event, tropical cyclone or earthquake, users will be able to view the actual rainfall values from the different satellite and weather forecasting sources that are used in the XSR 2.5 model, the wind speed and storm surge values used in the SPHERA model for tropical cyclones or the peak ground acceleration values used in the SPHERA model for earthquakes.

WeMAp is provided to users by CCRIF at no cost. It is expected that it would play a key role in enhancing the understanding and interpretation of CCRIF insurance policies and their associated outputs.

Additionally, CCRIF’s main clients, that is, member governments’ ministries of finance, have been granted special access to view the modelled loss values calculated by the model for their country for an active hazard event for which they have a CCRIF insurance policy and therefore would be able to compare the loss values of the event to their policy. In this way, they can determine if their CCRIF policy is likely to be triggered by the event.

The main users of WeMAp include finance officials, disaster and emergency managers and meteorological officers as well as regional and non-governmental organisations involved in natural hazard risk management such as the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology. Humanitarian organisations can also access WeMAp.

The release said that the information provided by the components of WeMAP can be used as triggers for preparedness and alert procedures by these organisations. The information provided through the tools is useful in informing decision making at such critical times to ensure public safety.

While some of the information displayed by WeMAp is publicly available and issued by third-party agencies (for example, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – NOAA), several layers are generated by CCRIF’s risk models, i.e. the XSR model (for excess rainfall) and the SPHERA model (for tropical cyclones and earthquakes).

WeMAp is based on Google’s API System and allows the display of the exposure and hazard maps over the entire domain covered by the XSR and SPHERA models, which includes the Caribbean, Central America and part of South America. The web address of the platform is: https://wemap.ccrif.org

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Caribbean & World

Lotto and GTAWU reach agreement 

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by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada 

  • National Lotteries Authority workers resumed work on Thursday, 21 November
  • GTAWU secured salary adjustments for 2017–2019
  • NLA job analysis and evaluation should be completed by July 2020

All outstanding matters regarding the interest of workers at the National Lotteries Authority (NLA) have been resolved. Workers resumed work as normal on Thursday, 21 November.

From 12 November, employees at the NLA/Lotto were engaged in low-level protest action which was later heightened after they did not receive a favourable response from the Board of Directors led by its Chairman, Devon Charles.

The Grenada Technical and Allied Workers Union (GTAWU) demanded that workers be paid salary increases due since 2017; the employment status of 3 employees be regularised, and the appointment of Jodie Alexander who has been acting in a supervisory position for 2 years and 5 months, be confirmed.

The union managed to secure salary adjustments of 3.75% for 2017; 2.5% for 2018 and 3.25% for 2019 which is scheduled to take effect by the end of 2019. In addition, the adjustment for the 3 employees should be completed by 2 December.

Thereafter the board of the NLA will be doing a job analysis and evaluation which should be completed by July 2020, after which the union will commence new negotiations with NLA for 2020 and going forward.

“We want to commend the workers at Lotto for the decisive way in which they addressed this matter. We look forward to a harmonious relationship with Lotto as the workers continue to produce,” said President General of GTAWU, André Lewis.

Prior to the meeting with the Labour Commissioner on Tuesday and Wednesday, workers from all of the NLA’s sub-offices islandwide were seen protesting outside NLA Head Office on the Carenage accompanied by two senior GTAWU members.

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Grenada Tourism Authority hosts secondary school ‘Career Series’

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The Grenada Tourism Authority (GTA) has successfully completed its ‘Career Series’ in 20 secondary schools across the tri-island state.

The GTA team shared with over 500 students in forms three and four, the many career opportunities that the industry has to offer and the important role tourism plays in the economy and their lives.

Presently, the industry employs over 10,000 people and contributes almost a quarter to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) through direct and indirect sources. The GTA also partnered with its stakeholders who joined in to share with the students what they do to support the industry. Stakeholders included Tri-Island Chocolate, the Grenada Airports Authority (Air Traffic Control and Meteorological Office), Budget Marine Grenada, Mt Cinnamon Beach Resort, Edwin Frank (Tour Guide) and St James Travel and Tours. The students were keen and asked questions about how they could get into the different career fields.

The Career Series included presentations, videos and role-play to encourage the students to start thinking about a career in tourism such as becoming a tour guide capable of speaking different languages, tour operator, hotel manager, divemaster, chef, marketer, content creator, mixologist among others. One of the roleplays in the presentation was the use of foreign currency in showing how the tourist dollar could circulate and trickle down from a visitor to a restaurant, to a farmer, supermarket worker and then finally to a student.

CEO of the GTA, Patricia Maher joined the team at Westerhall Secondary School to inspire and encourage the students. She told the students, “You may see something unique within your community that you think can become a tourism experience. Remember everyday activities that you enjoy are often times what excites the visitor about the destination. As future contributors to the tourism industry, I encourage you to pursue these ideas, turn them into businesses and cooperatives, to the benefit of your community and country.”

Forming a major part of the Career Series was a discussion on the environment. The GTA debuted a video featuring its tourism mascot ‘Nutasha’ and the ‘Litterbug’ character highlighting the consequences of littering on the environment and tourism. Product Development and Research Manager at the GTA Kirl Hoschtialek said, “We are Pure Grenada, the Spice of the Caribbean and we encourage you to become tourism ambassadors by keeping our islands clean.”

The Career Series was a major activity of Tourism Awareness Month being commemorated under the theme “Promoting Careers and Sustainable Livelihoods in Tourism.”

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Grenada to ban sodas and sweet snacks at schools

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by Linda Straker

  • Sale of carbonated beverages at schools to be banned from 1 January 2020
  • Student health assessments show almost 20% surveyed were obese or overweight
  • Parents and vendors on school compounds must comply with new policy

Education Minister Emmalin Pierre has announced that as of 1 January 2020, government will be banning the sale of carbonated beverages and other snacks on the compounds of all public and private schools in Grenada.

Sharing details of health assessments among students which were conducted between 2010 and 2016, Pierre who was the time contributing to the 2020 budget debate said that almost 20% of the students surveyed were obese or overweight.

“Between 2010 and 2016 study shows 17% of the secondary school population between 12 to 16 years are overweight and obese while 2% to 6% of children 0 months to 5 years are overweight and obese,” she told the House.

“Mr Speaker, I don’t need to explain further. In addition to obesity and all of the other chronic illnesses that our children are coming down with why we need to take some very strong action in 2020, and so from 1 January 2020 we will move to fully implement Grenada’s school nutrition policy,” she said. “We will move to ban the sale of certain products in schools including sodas and sweet snacks that our children are abusing,” Pierre announced as members expressed approval by knocking tables.

Parents will also be prohibited from placing the banned snacks and drinks in lunch bags.

As part of the nutrition policy, vendors on school compounds will have to comply with the new policy as a permit will now be issued to them to ensure that they are aware of the requirements. “That permit will basically be saying that you have agreed within the policy of the nutrition of our students,” the Education Minister told the house.

The nutrition policy will also bring changes to the school feeding programme. More than 7,000 children receive a hot meal daily through that programme which costs the government EC$3.1 million.

Pierre said that the school feeding programme had a thorough assessment and it was decided that changes will be made to ensure that students receive nutritious meals. There are schools that sometimes serve the children processed foods that have been scientifically classified as unhealthy.

“We will not change overnight, but I am very optimistic that we will get there,” Pierre said.

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