Cuba to share cyclone knowledge with the Pacific
Cuba's National Forecast Centre says it hopes to share with the Pacific region how it has reduced the crippling impacts of severe weather events.
Cuba's National Forecast Centre says it will share with the Pacific region how it has reduced the crippling impacts of severe weather events.
Its director, Jose Rubiera, will travel to the Small Islands Developing States conference in Samoa next month, and is part of the "Small Islands, Weather Together Campaign."
Dr Rubiera says Cuba has dramatically changed the way it responds to cyclones since Hurricance Flora killed more than 1,200 people in 1963, and now takes a lead role in teaching small islands how to deal with extreme weather events.
JOSE RUBIERA: When the hurricanes or the tropical storm is very far away, 120 hours of hitting Cuba, we tell people well you have to be careful, you have to follow the information, you have to keep updated. As time passes by, we issue warnings with more frequency and even radio and TV, they can broadcast live from the forecast centre 48 hours before, so everybody is well informed. And the civil defence coordinates very much with us, and with the government and with the media. It is the work of everybody that makes this happen. We have just a few casualities in the case of a hurricane.
MARY BAINES: So how can what Cuba has learned be applied to the Pacific?
JR: We have many things to share. So we have to learn from each other, exchange experiences. Which are our best experiences that we can share with them. We have to try to educate people what to do. The people know in every time, step by step, what they should do in the case of a hurricane. And also to meteorologists, weathermen, to speak clearly, in plain language, in a language that people understand. We don't use meteorological jargon at all, so that everybody understands. And we give people much information and show the public images of the radars, because it is very clear that when you see something, you are more aware you have that approaching you.
MB: So you'll be looking at ways at a community, national, regional level that systems can be improved?
JR: Definitely. Small islands need to improve their systems, meteorological systems, weather stations, satellites, radars, and they have to use these tools in the forecast and exchange of information and also I think it is very important meteorologists get involved in the media, not only in interviews but also explaining the weather. For instance, we have been in Cuba with weather presentations every night at prime time news time on national TV. It has been going for 32 years already. And also to try to convince that one dollar invested in equipment, in radars, in satellites and in meteorological stations has a profit in avoiding Cuban life loss.
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