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    Cuban scientists strengthen capacities for disaster risk management

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    The Environmental Hydraulic Institute Foundation of Cantabria, in Spain, welcomes eight Cuban professionals, linked to the international Coastal Resilience (CR) project, to create capacities that strengthen disaster risk reduction (DRR) management and adaptation to change Climate Change (ACC) on the Island.

    The Master of Science Yohanis de la Torre Galiano, technical director of RC, reported via the internet that the training improves the skills of scientists from the System of the Environment Agency and the Institute of Geophysics and Astronomy, based on knowledge of new techniques for modeling current and future scenarios.

    He pointed out that this knowledge is essential for DRR and the strengthening of resilience in communities and ecosystems, a purpose that RC materializes by intervening in an area of ​​the central-northern region of Cuba, directly in four municipalities and with replication actions in another 11.

    He stressed that the training activity corresponds to the priorities established in the Sendai Framework for DRR in the period 2015-2030, approved at the III World Conference of the United Nations on DRR, held more than seven years ago in the Japanese city that names the document.

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    He explained that to strengthen nations against disasters and reduce their economic, social and environmental effects, DRR strategies are established, which cut across all sectors, both public and private.

    Losses can be reduced by integrating preventive measures into development plans, incorporating the assessment of potential hazards in current and future scenarios as part of planning, and allocating resources to deal with catastrophic events, he said.

    The corrective and prospective management of risks ―to address pre-existing risks and the generation of others, in that order―, as well as the strengthening of the resilience of society, enable adequate progress and the reduction of the consequences of extreme events.

    From October 21 to 27, Cuban experts participate in interactive conferences, practical exercises and other educational activities that allow validating physical and biodiversity parameters to be monitored in marine-coastal ecosystems (beaches, seagrasses, mangroves and corals) for the modeling of future climate change scenarios.

    The training will allow them to delve into the modeling of the impact of coastal flooding caused by extreme hydro-meteorological events; and exchange on the integrated vision of DRR and ACC for strengthening resilience in settlements and coastal ecosystems.

    RC is financed by the European Union with four million euros, transferred through the Global Alliance for Climate Change plus (GCCA+), and achieves relevance in the progress of vulnerable coastal settlements affected by Hurricane Irma as it passed through Cuba in September of the year 2017.

    More than 600,900 people will benefit from this initiative, led by the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment, through the Environment Agency and its National Group for Risk Assessment, with the support of the United Nations Program for the development.

    Entities of the Civil Defense System, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the National Institutes of Hydraulic Resources and Territorial Planning and Urbanism participate, he said.

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    The project has provided equipment for work in extreme conditions at the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Centers (CGRRD) located in the four towns where it intervenes directly.

    De la Torre Galiano stressed that work is being done to improve the infrastructure and technology of early warning systems, both hydro-meteorological and mean sea level rise.

    It conceives the installation of automatic hydro-meteorological stations in strategic places, the incorporation of two new tide gauge stations and the modernization of another three, as well as the constitution of the five management centers for DRR, one of these with a regional character and located in the province of Clear Villa.

    In addition, community centers for capacity building and knowledge management were created in the Caguanes National Park and the Los Buchillones Archaeological Site Research Center, located in the municipalities of Yaguajay and Chambas, respectively.