PEARL presented at the Polytechnic University José Antonio Echeverría (CUJAE) in Havana, Cuba. April, 2014

In the framework of the EU funded project “EU-Cuba Environment” the PEARL coordinator was invited to present the project at the Polytechnic University José Antonio Echeverría (CUJAE) in Havana, Cuba.
The presentation was attended by scholars from the CUJAE University in the fields of hydraulics, coastal engineering, flood protection, etc. Undergraduate and MSc students were present as well as other PhD researchers and staff from INSMET (Meteorological Institute of Cuba). Zoran Vojinovic and Arlex Sanchez from UNESCO-IHE presented the aim, structure and main activities of PEARL. During the discussion with key stakeholders in Havana, a great potential for collaboration between PEARL and the institutions dealing with early warning and disaster management in Cuba has been identified.

Further steps between PEARL and Cuba

Special interest has been expressed by Cuban stakeholders towards the improvement of forecast capabilities for nearly real-time warning as well as a combination of hazards resulting from coastal and pluvial floods within the urban areas. For more information, please contact PEARL project leader Dr. Z. Vojinovic.
There was also an interest to share the knowledge and experience in community-based disaster risk management, where the Cuban authorities have been at the forefront in the Caribbean region and wider.

Currently there are discussions to bring Havana as an associated case study area in PEARL.

Old Havana under threat for high winds and waves

Cuba at risk to coastal flooding

Being the major island in the Caribbean, Cuba is often in the path of major tropical storms and hurricanes. The high frequency of exposure to extreme hydro meteorological events of Cuba has produced a strong institutional and educational arrangement to increase resilience in the community and reduce social vulnerabilities to avoid loss of human life and reduce economic damages.
In 2001, nearly 6 million people were affected by extreme hydro-meteorological events in the Caribbean. Particularly, Hurricane Michelle hit the island of Cuba on the 4th of November 2001 and caused enormous material damage and loss of human life (CubaHurricanes.org).

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