NOAA DELIVERS LIFE-SAVING DISASTER-PREPAREDNESS INFRASTRUCTURE
AND SYSTEMS TO CENTRAL AMERICA
Ceremony in Nicaragua Marks Final Phase of $16M NOAA Reconstruction Effort
August 17, 2001 Representatives
from the United States and Nicaragua are marking the final phase
of NOAA's $16 million project at a ceremony in Managua, Nicaragua,
on August 22. A team of weather, hydrology and ocean experts
from NOAA are nearing completion
of a $16 million disaster recovery program in five Central American
countries devastated in 1998 by Hurricane Mitch, the deadliest
Atlantic hurricane in more than two centuries. (Click NOAA
satellite image for larger view of Hurricane Mitch on October
"NOAA is committed to working with our international partners to safeguard lives, property and sensitive ecological resources," said Scott B. Gudes, acting administrator for NOAA. "This project marks a critical step to improving weather forecasting and disaster-preparedness in Central America and creating an international standard for information sharing and cooperation."
The NOAA reconstruction project
is part of an overall $17 million Department
of Commerce effort to address problem areas identified as
critical to mitigating against the effects of future natural
disasters in Central America and the Caribbean. The DOC plan
called for NOAA, the National
Institute for Standards and Technology and the International
Trade Administration to address five areas: (1) Base infrastructure;
(2) Forecast and Early Warning Systems; (3) Disaster Preparedness
and Response; (4) Sustainable, Resilient Coastal Communities;
and (5) Economic Revitalization.
EARLY WARNING & PREPAREDNESS
Retired General Jack Kelly, NOAA's National Weather Service director said, "While we can't stop the catastrophic floods from hurricanes, we can do something to help local officials warn residents. Furthermore, all Americans will be better protected because the new data from our international partners will improve our hurricane forecasts." Weather data from Central America provides critical insight into where a hurricane might go and how strong it will be.
"A degraded environment threatens local economic prosperity and the well being of coastal residents," said Margaret Davidson, acting director of NOAA's National Ocean Service. "The coastal area of the Gulf of Fonseca is a vital economic resource to the region. Its estuaries help support the community and small-scale commercial fishing, shrimp aquaculture and salt production. We are providing information to improve coastal management and maintain economic vitality."
NOAA's reconstruction projects are expected to be completed by December 2001 and are part of a $621 million hurricane reconstruction project funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources.
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