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Caricom reaches out to Japan


CAROL MARTINDALE, [email protected]

Caricom reaches out to Japan

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The 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it is deeply saddened by the unprecedented disaster in Japan, spawned by the largest earthquake in that country’s recorded history.
Acting CARICOM Secretary-General, Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, in a message to the Trinidad and Tobago-based Embassy of Japan, said the people of the Caribbean Community shared Japan’s grief over the tragic and escalating loss of life, and the displacement of thousands of Japanese through the “unimaginable effects” of this disaster.
Ambassador Applewhaite said CARICOM joined the international community in offering deepest condolences to the families of those who perished and are missing.
“Particular expressions of sympathy are extended to the residents of the coastal prefectures of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima who have been severely affected by this unprecedented disaster,” she said.
 “Tragedies of this magnitude, triggering tsunami warnings across the entire Pacific and numerous other countries, underscore the importance of like-minded states collaborating in the vital area of disaster mitigation and preparedness,” she added.
The Acting CARICOM Secretary-General said CARICOM stood in solidarity with the government and people of Japan in affirming their confidence that the country would overcome “these most trying times” with the resilience and courage of the Japanese people.
CARICOM Chairman and Grenada’s Prime Minister Tillman Thomas said his country and the region have always regarded Japan as a “friend and partner.
“We have always had good cooperation and relations with Japan and this is an occasion that really saddens us,” the Prime Minister said, adding that the strength and intensity of the quake underscores his continued call for focussed attention on climate change, global warming and the resulting rise in sea levels.
“The rising sea levels pose a threat to us, especially small island states. So we need to be concerned about these matters and keep pushing for real and meaningful change in the fight to slow down or reduce the impact of climate change on our countries,” the Prime Minister said.
The earthquake, which is believed to be the most powerful ever recorded, triggered a massive tsunami which affected the coastline of neighbouring states. (CMC)

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