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December 7, 2023

Sharing data, knowledge, and best practices about natural hazards in the Caribbean improves resilience for all.

The Caribbean region is made up of dozens of inhabited islands, vulnerable to different hazards including hurricanes, earthquakes, and landslides. A USGS project, SENHIC, is fostering collaborations between researchers, U.S. territories, and international partners in the Caribbean to increase resilience from these natural hazards.  

Natural hazards studies in the Caribbean are suited for collaboration because many small Caribbean islands face similar natural hazards. The islands are also in close proximity to neighboring international countries.  

The project lays the groundwork for future collaborations among diverse groups by gathering data on USGS natural hazards projects in the Caribbean and connecting with natural hazards experts in the Caribbean.  

To promote equity and inclusion, the team is interdisciplinary and multi-cultural. It includes USGS researchers and local representatives from Puerto Rico with a wide range of experiences. The team has hosted a cross-USGS symposium, compiled a USGS natural hazards project map in the region, and shared their stakeholder engagement framework with colleagues for reuse.  

Different Caribbean organizations engaged have included:

  • Bahamas National Trust,
  • Bahamas National Emergency Management Agency,
  • Caribbean Community Climate Change Centre,
  • Caribbean Institute for Meteorology & Hydrology,
  • St. Kitts & Nevis water resource managers,
  • University of the Virgin Islands,
  • University of the West Indies and the United Nations Development Program (Barbados), and
  • Caribbean Conservation Community of Practice.

The team promotes USGS natural hazards resources at meetings that these partners and stakeholders attend.  

By listening to these groups, the team learns about areas where U.S. agencies could assist the Caribbean to tackle challenges and build resilience to natural hazards. These include funding, partnerships, human resource capacity building, and data collection and accessibility.  

SENHIC project website increases accessibility to USGS natural hazards resources in the Caribbean. The site shares relevant resources, tools and news updates. The team is also building a network and database of relevant experts and resources in Caribbean.   

A lesson from this project is that working together doesn’t always have to be specific co-production of a particular product, but sharing data, knowledge, and best practices can help to improve resilience for all. 


Map of USGS natural hazards projects in the Caribbean: 

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