The increasing intensity and frequency with which disasters are being experienced worldwide demonstrate the critical need to enhance disaster risk management. Indeed, high-profile, largescale disasters are increasing global consciousness of the need to strengthen national and regional capacities to mitigate, respond to and manage such events (Ferris and Petz 2013). Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Caribbean are particularly vulnerable for a number of reasons and face a range of disasters, both natural and man-made (UNDP 2011). As the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has recognized, Caribbean countries are vulnerable to a range of hazards1 due to, and often exacerbated by, their “...geology, tectonic setting, location and topography,” as well as their “...poor land use and environmental management practices” (UNDP 2011:1).
Disasters in the Caribbean often cause millions of dollars in losses to infrastructure and to economic and social sectors of countries in the region. For example, 2004 was one of the busiest and most destructive Atlantic hurricane seasons on record: direct losses and property damage in the Caribbean were estimated at $2 billion (UNDP 2011).