Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 24th 2015 Contents A30
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PUERTO RICO---The most severe drought to hit
the Caribbean in recent years is expected to worsen
despite rains from tropical storms that have replen-
ished some reservoirs.
Forecasters say El Niño phenomenon is gathering
strength and will continue to warm the tropical Pacific
until early next year, which translates into sparse
rainfall for this largely parched region as the dry
"The real concern will come late in the year," said
Adrian Trotman, a forecaster with the Caribbean
Institute for Meteorology and Hydrology. "We are
definitely in a period of relief, but it s quite likely the
relief will not be as long-lived as we would like it
El Niño has produced a quiet hurricane season,
which begins in June and ends in November. Only
two of nine named storms having dumped significant
rainfall over parts of the Caribbean.
The institute issued a report this month saying
that many islands in the eastern Caribbean remain
in drought, and officials warned that the current wet
season will likely end before the traditional date of
Both Barbados and Grenada had their third lowest
rainfalls in recent history for August, while Haiti saw
up to a 50 per cent loss in crops in the hardest-hit
areas, according to a report from the International
The neighbouring Dominican Republic saw its
agricultural production drop nearly 11 per cent as a
result of drought, and dairy industry officials have
warned that production could drop 30 per cent by
year s end.
Jamaica also has struggled with crop losses, espe-
cially in the island s eastern region.
"They are suffering terribly," said Leslie Simpson,
a specialist with the Caribbean Agricultural Research
and Development Institute. "It s really going to be
more serious as we go into the dry season, not only
for agriculture but for domestic consumption."
Some islands, including the Bahamas and Cuba,
have had some relief in recent months, and more
rain is forecast for them than anywhere else in the
Caribbean in the coming months.
Severe drought also has ebbed somewhat in Puerto
Rico, where officials this week eased austere water
rationing measures. However, 19 per cent of the island
remains under an extreme drought and 45 per cent
more is under a severe one.
The Caribbean Agricultural Research and Devel-
opment Institute is encouraging farmers to find new
irrigation methods and better manage existing
"They are predicting more frequent droughts,"
Simpson said. "This is just the beginning." (AP)
As dry season nears...
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