Disaster risk in the Caribbean is among the highest in the world. Each year, an average of six tropical storms become hurricanes in the Caribbean (NOAA 2019). With climate change, more frequent and stronger hurricanes are expected. Floods, earthquakes and landslides are also common occurrences. These rapid-onset hazards in the Caribbean are highly destructive and generate large amounts of solid waste. The sheer volume of waste can paralyse recovery and reconstruction efforts, and the presence of hazardous waste types can cause severe knock-on effects for people and the environment.
United Nations Environment engaged IRMA to support the governments of Jamaica, Sint Maarten, St Lucia and Dominica to develop proposals for scaling up disaster waste management (DWM). IRMA co-founders Marilise Turnbull and Lezlie Moriniere researched the DWM challenges and opportunities in each of the islands included in the study, carrying out site visits, interviews with high-level government officials, donors, UN agency representatives and leaders of civil society organisations, and held participatory, multi-stakeholder workshops. IRMA used the information and agreements generated to produce a multi-country DWM proposal to be implemented by CDEMA and the governments of the respective countries, with support from UN Environment.