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WHO Chief Underscores Need to Address Climate Change Following Visit to Hurricane-Hit Bahamas

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Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (right), Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and Dr. Duane Sands, Minister of Health of the Bahamas, tour the devastated sites in the country to assess health impacts of Hurricane Dorian. (Photo credit: PAHO/WHO)

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Monday October 7,
2019
– The top United
Nations health official has called for the world to rally around The Bahamas as
the country continues to emerge from the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian
one month ago.

Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO),
made the appeal after visiting the country which was slammed by the Category 5 hurricane
last month.

“It breaks
my heart to see the devastation to communities and families who have lost
friends and loved ones as well as their homes, possessions and access to
crucial services,” he said.

“Hurricane
Dorian is another urgent reminder that we must address the drivers of climate
change and invest more in resilient communities. The longer we wait, the more
people will suffer. We need to keep the world and people safe.”

Hurricane
Dorian struck on September 1, hitting the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
Overall, some 75,000 people have been affected, with around 1,500 still living
in shelters.

Fifty-six
people were killed in the storm and about 600 are still missing.

The WHO
chief’s visit included stops in the two affected islands, where most households
and other infrastructure were completely destroyed.

The
hurricane dealt a substantial blow to the health sector, destroying five
clinics across both islands, and interrupting electrical and water supplies.

The
Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), which serves as WHO’s Regional Office
for the Americas, is the only UN agency with a physical presence in The
Bahamas.

PAHO-WHO have deployed 20 staff there and have coordinated the mobilization of five International Emergency Medical Teams for the response.

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Jamaica to Get Increased Airlift Out of South America in Time for Christmas Travel

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LatAm Airlines will inaugurate three weekly flights from Chile and other South American countries to Montego Bay, bringing the total weekly flights between South America and Jamaica to 14.

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Tuesday
October 15, 2019
– Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett says beginning December,
Jamaica will see an increase in flights out of South America, which will bring
more visitors from the continent to the island.

He said LatAm Airlines will inaugurate three weekly flights from
Chile and other South American countries to Montego Bay.

This is in addition to 11 flights now offered by Copa Airlines out
of Panama, to bring the total weekly flights between South America and Jamaica
to 14.

“That will go a long way in helping us to further build out the
South American market, which, right now, is the fastest growing for Jamaica, at
some 23 per cent at this time,” Minister Bartlett said.

He said these marketing engagements are critical in fortifying the
resilience of the island’s tourism industry against any fallout that could
result from shocks such as a global recession.

“Jamaica is [being] proactive in its efforts to ensure that our markets are secured, so that if there’s fallout from one end, we can pick up from another and keep our growth momentum at the level that we had projected,” the Tourism Minister said.

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Tropical Depression 15 Forms in Location That’s Rare This Time in the Hurricane Season

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FLORIDA, United States, Monday
October 14, 2019
– The National Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami says a tropical
depression has formed in a part of the Atlantic where development is rare this late
into the hurricane season.

Tropical depression 15 formed Monday evening from a large area of
low pressure located just off the western coast of Africa – about 235 miles
east-southeast of the Cabo Verde Islands.

The depression, with maximum sustained winds near 35 miles per
hour, was moving toward the northwest at 10 miles per hour.

“Slight strengthening is possible during the next day or so,and the depression is forecast to become a tropical storm on Tuesday. Weakening is forecast to begin by Wednesday morning when the cyclone will be moving away from the Cabo Verde Islands,” the NHC said.

No tropical storms have formed this far east in the tropical
Atlantic Ocean so late in the season since satellites started tracking them in
1966.

According to weather.com, the reason this part of the Atlantic
becomes less favourable for development late in the hurricane season is that
tropical waves – one of the seeds for tropical storm development – become less
defined as they move off Africa. Winds in the upper atmosphere also become less
favourable for tropical storm formation.

Meantime, there is a tropical wave accompanied by a small low
pressure system located about 750 miles east of the southern Windward Islands.
But the NHC said chances of further development are low.

“Although this system continues to produce a large area of disorganized cloudiness and thunderstorms, upper-level winds are only marginally conducive for additional development during the next day or so while it moves westward at around 15 mph. On Wednesday, upper-level winds are forecast to become quite hostile when the wave approaches the Windward Islands and further development is not anticipated after that time,” it said.

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Substance Abuse-Fighting Agency in Barbados Supports Legalization of Marijuana – But for Medical Use Only

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BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Monday
October 14, 2019
– The National Council on Substance Abuse (NCSA) is supporting
government’s initiative to legalize and create a platform for the issue and
handling of licenses for medicinal cannabis and its regulating regime.

But, says chairman Hadford Howell, the agency is still advocating against substance abuse or misuse.

“There is a difference between medical marijuana and recreational
marijuana. Medical marijuana will help persons who may be suffering from all
sorts of diseases,” he said.

“…We are happy for it to come into being once it is martialed, controlled and there are certain rules and conditions…put in place. Once they are in place, [then] fine. The point is there is a difference in medical marijuana and recreational marijuana,” Howell added, noting the NCSA had submitted a paper to the Minister of Home Affairs on October 17, 2018, expressing its concerns about the matter.

Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson, and Manager of the NCSA, Betty Hunte.

Minister of Home Affairs Edmund Hinkson said that legalizing
marijuana for medical purposes is what a large segment of the public has been
calling for, for years, particularly persons who are ill or have disabilities, “and
we can’t go against that tide”.

“We can’t allow the conservatism and sometimes fear and
uncertainty to venture into innovative enterprises or initiatives, which
constrain some Barbadians, to prevent us moving on in terms of what would be in
the best interest of our people,” he contended.

Hinkson said full discussions by a Joint Select Committee of
Parliament had wrapped up with tremendous input given from the public orally
and in writing, including from the NCSA.

“We want to thank the public and organizations for that input which has helped fashioned amendments to the Bill which would be laid very shortly in Parliament as the debate continues,” the Minister said.

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