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Ottawa, Ontario, Nov 5, 2010 (CIDA) - The Honourable Peter Kent, Minister of State of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, today announced support in response to the humanitarian needs arising from Hurricane Tomas in the Caribbean.

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Several of CDEMA Participating States have been experiencing moderate to extreme dry conditions since January 2009. The situation is becoming critical as meteorologists continue to predict below average rainfall in the coming months. Several countries have reported marked depletions of water resources and the adverse effects the drought conditions are having on the agriculture sector.

Drought Alerts have been issued by the Caribbean Institute of Meteorology and Hydrology (CIMH) for several countries in south-eastern Caribbean including Barbados, Grenada, and Saint Lucia. Guyana,Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago are also on Drought Alert. These countries have begun implementing measures to curtail the effects of impending water shortage.

Concerns on the depleted level of stored water resources water and the existing dry conditions has led to the implementation of a water rationing system by the Antigua Public Utilities Authority (APUA) since early February.

Barbados has seen a decrease in foliage levels and a marked increase in the occurrence of bush fires compared to the same period last year. There are no water restrictions at this time; however authorities are closely monitoring the water resources. Click here to read more

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(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Residents of an isolated community on the outskirts of the town of Leogane, Haiti, on Thursday were overjoyed at receiving medical attention and supplies of food from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) contingent.

Led by the Jamaican Defence Force (JDF), the contingent carried out a medical outreach exercise in their neighbourhood as part of an on-going daily programme that began forty days ago.

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Caribbean countries have been implementing various measures to control the use of water as the region experiences a prolonged drought.

From Trinidad and Tobago in the south, to Jamaica in the north, governments and the various utility companies have announced stringent measures ranging from a ban on watering lawns, to washing vehicles as a means of dealing with the low volume of water in reservoirs as a result of the reduced rainfall.

In Trinidad, water police officers have also been deployed to ensure that consumers adhere to the new measures, while in Jamaica, water rationing has become the order of the day.

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El Nino blamed for low rainfall levels
By Bert Wilkinson

Farmers and ordinary householders in Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Grenada and St. Lucia among others are starting to express concern about looming water shortages resulting from the prolonged dry season that saw vastly reduced annual year-end rainfall levels.

In Trinidad for example, weather watchers at the Piarco International Airport point to statistics showing that only 10 millimeters of rain fell in January compared to a normal 71 millimeters on the books as the national long-term average.

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