Parametric Insurer CCRIF Strengthens Belize Warning Systems for Extreme Weather

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Parametric catastrophe insurer CCRIF continues to strengthen Belize’s early warning systems for rainfall and climate forecasting with a new grant of US$43,140.

This grant brings CCRIF’s Belize contributions to US$143,000, which began helping the country purchase and install automatic weather stations in 2017, with an initial grant of US$100,000.

The grant in 2017 facilitated the purchase of 30 new automatic weather stations that were installed throughout the country. With the 30 weather stations provided by CCRIF, Belize now has 52 working weather stations with high quality rain gauges, making the country one of the Caribbean’s best equipped in terms of its national rainfall monitoring network coverage.

According to a recent situational analysis related to the regional monitoring network of automatic weather stations in the Caribbean conducted by the Caribbean Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH), with support from CCRIF, Belize’s network provides 70% of what the optimal coverage should be. CIMH further recommends that 10 additional rainfall stations be installed in Belize given the size of the country and its topography.

This new grant will be used to install air temperature sensors on the country’s 52 weather stations, enclosures for these sensors, additional rain gauges as well as protective “bird spikes” for all the gauges. The addition of the air temperature sensors will contribute to increasing the number of weather and climate variables that can be monitored by the National Meteorological Service of Belize.

These weather stations allow for the real-time flow of data to the Met Service, which then allows forecasters and meteorologists to monitor and provide alerts to the population prior to severe weather events to help with storm preparation.

This is key to reducing damage and other negative impacts on population, infrastructure and animals/livestock associated with rainfall and tropical cyclone events such as tropical storms and hurricanes, said CCRIF, noting that these weather stations play a key role in strengthening the capacity of the country’s early warning systems, thereby enabling the Met Service and other agencies to undertake better planning for climate change and disaster risk management.

“The installation of additional rainfall and temperature sensors funded through this grant from CCRIF will help us, at the National Meteorological Service of Belize, to better monitor these two important variables in real time across much of the country,” commented Chief Meteorologist Ronald Gordon.

“This will, in turn, enhance our ability to, among other things, alert residents of the potential for flooding from heavy rainfall events as well as provide more data for us to do more detailed and reliable analysis of climatic trends across Belize.”

The government of Belize has been a member of CCRIF since the facility was formed in 2007.

Formerly the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility, CCRIF SPC is a segregated portfolio company that limits the financial impact of catastrophic hurricanes, earthquakes and excess rainfall events to Caribbean and Central American governments by quickly providing short-term liquidity when a parametric insurance policy is triggered.

The CCRIF is the world’s first multi-country, multi-peril risk pool based on parametric insurance. CCRIF has 23 members: 19 Caribbean governments, three Central American governments and one Caribbean electric utility company. Since its inception in 2007, CCRIF has made 54 payouts totaling US$245 million to 16 of its members. All payouts are paid within 14 days of the event.

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