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Bahamas new report puts hurricane damage at US$3.4 billion

Sunday, November 17, 2019

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WASHINGTON (CMC) — The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) says a new report estimates the total cost of the impacts and effects of Hurricane Dorian on The Bahamas in September at US$3.4 billion, with hundreds dead or missing and impacts on the economy that will last for years.

It said the estimate comes out to over a quarter of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), or the equivalent of the United States losing the combined economic outputs of California, Texas and Florida. “The magnitude of the losses requires a new development approach to achieve climate and disaster resilience in areas that range from location of settlements to redesigning infrastructure and strengthening environmental protection,” according to the report, titled 'Assessment of the Effects and Impacts of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas'.

Hurricane Dorian lashed the archipelago on September 1 as a category five storm and while the official death toll has been put at 67 with 282 people missing, there's a suggestion that the amount of people killed is in excess of 100.

In addition, an additional 29,472 indeviduals were affected by the hurricane by damages to their homes and assets.

Hurricane Dorian struck Grand Bahama and Abaco with punishing winds and storm surges, with the island of New Providence also suffering some impacts. Inadequate construction and infrastructure located in vulnerable areas exacerbated the storm's impacts.

“It is important that those directly affected by the disaster feel the presence and solidarity of the government throughout the difficult process ahead,” said IDP representative, Daniela Carrera-Marquis, adding “reconstruction efforts will last many years and will require a well-coordinated participation of public and private sectors, civil society and the international community”.

The Bahamas government has asked the IDB to assess the impacts of Hurricane Dorian and as part of a long-standing partnership, the IDB teamed up with the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for technical assistance with the valuation. The taskforce was complemented by the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

“Hurricane Dorian left a trail of destruction to houses, essential infrastructure and entire ecosystems that will require major investments,” said Omar Bello, coordinator for the Sustainable Development & Disaster Unit at ECLAC and a lead author of the report.

“The economy and livelihoods will be impacted for years to come from the temporary absence of damaged assets, especially those of tourism and fisheries.”

The Damage and Loss Assessment (DaLA) team of external experts, ECLAC, IDB and PAHO staff started in early October the complex task of collecting relevant baseline and post-disaster data to assess the effects and impacts of the disaster.


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