The annual Atlantic hurricane season runs from June to November. Every single year heavy storms batter the Caribbean and poor communities are hit time and time again.
The Global Climate Risk Index 2011 lists all the countries worst affected by weather catastrophes over the last decade. Four of the top ten - Honduras, Nicaragua, Haiti and the Dominican Republic - are in the Caribbean Sea.
Since 1990, more than 650,000 people have died from extreme weather events across the world, and there have been losses of almost $2.1 trillion.
Helping communities prepare
There is increasing recognition that by helping communities to prepare for hurricanes, we are actually saving money in the long term.
According to the Department for International Development, one dollar invested in preventing disasters is estimated to save between $2.5 and 13 in disaster relief.
So Christian Aid's local partners are helping poor people in the firing line prepare to face the storms again this year, and as far as possible, to minimise damage and destruction.
Workshops have been carried out with partners across the region to help them identify areas of vulnerability and plan their responses in the event of a hurricane. This includes educating the public on the risks of storms and raising awareness on how people can best prepare for them.
With our help, communities are setting up early warning systems, evacuation plans, flood defences and emergency drills.
Keeping an eye on the storm
Communities in the coastal region of Guatemala are much better prepared for the hurricane season, thanks to Christian Aid partner CPDL.
Manuel Perez Pinea is the leader of his community’s emergency committee, and thanks to their emergency plans no one died when tropical storm Agatha hit in 2010.
He says `I thank God Agatha didn’t take away a single life, because we were ready with our emergency plan.’
Not every weather-related event is a result of climate change; tropical storms and hurricanes have always occurred across the Caribbean.
However, what is changing is their occurrence or intensity. According to the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change and hundreds of scientists worldwide, many weather events are becoming more intense or move frequent.
With strong political action to tackle climate change can we reduce the risk of disasters like hurricanes hitting the poor communities where we work.
Take action: join our climate change campaign