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Annotto Bay, Morant Point At Risk Of Devastation By Sea-Level Rise

Dr Ava Maxam (right), deputy director of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute, explains a map to Dr Kioshi Mishiro from Japan, at the Mona GeoInformatics Institute's offices in St Andrew.

Dr Ava Maxam (right), deputy director of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute, explains a map to Dr Kioshi Mishiro from Japan, at the Mona GeoInformatics Institute’s offices in St Andrew.

Dr. Ava Maxam, Deputy Director at Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) and Dr. Kioshi Mishiro oceanographer from Japan who also works at MGI spoke to the Gleaner about sea level rise in Annotto Bay and Morant Point.

Annotto Bay in St Mary and Morant Point in St Thomas, both in the eastern section of the island, are the Jamaican communities most at risk of devastation by sea-level rise, a situation researchers at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Mona, have linked to the poor socioeconomic conditions that prevail.

The analysis carried out by the Mona GeoInformatics Institute included poverty-implication mapping, which shows an urgent need for major investments to ease pressure on water resources. It also points to a need for proper housing development and for attention to be given to other areas in the built and natural environments, as a matter of priority.

“Our research is showing that these are the poorest areas, and so the assumption is that they will be the areas that are least resilient,” Dr Ava Maxam, deputy director of the Mona GeoInformatics Institute told The Gleaner.

The findings, which were culled from a culmination of a decade of research, show that in the event of natural disasters, those areas will take the longest to rebound.

Maxam further explained that Annotto Bay and Morant Point were among 20 communities across the island in critical need of attention, with Amity Hall and Yallahs, also in St Thomas, making that list. Runaway Bay in St Ann, Savanna-la-Mar in Westmoreland, as well as Cumberland and Caymanas Estates in St Catherine, also share that dubious distinction.

The general Caribbean is at risk, as scientists say the sea level has been rising, on average, at a rate of 0.14 inches (3-5 millimetres) per year since the 1990s.


Published by the Jamaica Gleaner on May 8, 2015: http://jamaica-gleaner.com/article/lead-stories/20150508/annotto-bay-morant-point-risk-devastation-sea-level-rise


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