St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said climate change could devastate Caribbean islands if global leaders do not act now to stop its extreme effect on the small islands.
“We have experienced first-hand, what climate change looks like: Irma, Jose, Maria," Chastanet said.
The prime minister was speaking at the 2017 UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany.
"Not only have these storms decimated our countries and our economies, but they have also left our citizens and governments with a feeling of fear and helplessness," he explained.
The fact that the next hurricane season is only nine months away, he said, has the Caribbean feeling "that this process is far too slow for us”.
Chastanet said many small islands have been declared uninhabitable after most of their infrastructure was destroyed especially after Hurricane Irma.
“What we have also realised is that time is against us. Climate change has the ability to annihilate my country overnight, as hurricanes are becoming more severe, causing an ever more devastating impact.”
The head of state said that the Small Island Developing States have understood that they have run out of time and that drastic actions must be taken immediately.
“The fallout from these events is massive. Lives are lost, infrastructure destroyed. Big, medium and small businesses are hit as well … which translates to loss of opportunity; losses that we couldn’t have imagined, but that we would have to suffer again and again in the future,” he said.
He said territories such as the British Virgin Islands, St Maarten, and St Thomas and Barbuda are suffering the extreme effects of climate change.
“I call on all governments to take urgent action to help SIDS deal with the climate change impacts … no more excuses, no more bureaucracy … just urgent action now,” he said.
[Reprinted from TeleSUR English.]