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Caribbean Climate Wire

An Interview with Guyanese President David Granger

Jun 24 2015 (IPS) - Guyana’s new president, David Granger, sits down with IPS correspondent Desmond Brown to talk about how his country is preparing for climate change – and hoping to avert the worst before it happens.

Nearly 90 percent of Guyana’s population lives on a narrow coastline strip a half to one metre below sea level. That coastal belt is protected by seawall barriers that have existed since the Dutch occupation of the country. In recent times, however, severe storms have toppled these defences, resulting in significant flooding, a danger scientists predict may become more frequent.

The government is now spending six million dollars annually on drainage and irrigation and requires some 100 million dollars to adapt its drainage infrastructure to deal with the effects of climate change.

“Most of the inland territory, maybe 50 kilometres from here, is higher and the sort of doomsday scenarios that we might have to abandon some parts of the coastline, that would be a tremendous cost,” Granger says.

“That would be something that we don’t want to contemplate but you can never tell when a catastrophe could strike.”

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