A new report by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) revealed that Hurricane Dorian caused $3.4 billion in damage and losses in The Bahamas.
Dorian ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September
The Category 5 storm – the strongest on record to hit The Bahamas – impacted 29,472 people, killed at least 67 and injured more than 200.
As of October 18, there were 282 individuals still missing.
According to the report, which was released on Friday, Dorian caused $2.46 billion in damage, $717 million in losses and nearly $221 million in additional costs.
The report categorizes the storm’s financial effects into four categories: social, infrastructure, productive and environment.
There was $1.59 billion in social damage, $239 million in infrastructural damage, $620 million in productivity damage and $7.14 million in environmental damage.
Dorian caused $92.39 million in social losses, $197.13 million in infrastructural losses, $400.28 million in productivity losses and $27.43 million in environmental losses.
There were $82.25 million in additional costs for the social sector.
The storm resulted in $16.23 million in additional costs for infrastructure, $19.95 million for productivity and $102.47 million for environment.
“The estimated impact of Hurricane Dorian is one percentage point of the GDP (gross domestic product),” the report’s executive summary notes.
“This implies that post-disaster, the economy is expected to grow 0.9 percent. This will result in a decrease in salaries of $51.3 million and capital income of $60.9 million. The situation is different when the focus is on local economic activity.
“In the case of Abaco, the impact was estimated at 7.3 percent of its GDP, which is estimated to be 47 percent and 60 percent decrease of the country’s remuneration and capital, respectively. On Grand Bahama, the impact was 2.0 [percent] of its GDP.”
The data in the report was compiled by the IDB and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The information was gathered between September 31, 2019 and October 5, 2019, with the assessment team visiting the most impacted areas – east Grand Bahama and Marsh Harbour, Abaco – on October 1 and 2.
Roughly 9,000 homes and more than 11 million square feet of structures were damaged on Abaco and Grand Bahama during Dorian, according to the assessment.
More than 75 percent of dwellings on Abaco were affected with approximately 57 percent of those structures sustaining severe damage, the report noted.
Marsh Harbour, Treasure Cay and Hope Town were the most affected areas on the island.
The report notes $1.48 billion in damage to the housing sector with nearly 89 percent of damage on Abaco.
“Losses in the housing sector are attributed to the interruption of accommodation and rental services due to severe damage or destruction of the house, making it temporarily or permanently uninhabitable,” it notes.
“The assessment team estimated losses at $56.8 million resulting from 2,894 homes left uninhabitable after the hurricane.
“Additional costs included in this assessment refer to the cost of demolition of the most affected dwellings, debris cleaning, and labor and equipment rental cost.
“Additional costs are estimated at $45.9 million. In total, 31 public buildings (excluding schools, hospitals/clinics and shelters that were assessed in other sectors) and government offices were affected.
“Damage to the public building sector is estimated at $10.6 million. Additional costs to demolition and debris removal in public buildings are estimated at $1.0 million. There was no losses related to public buildings.”
There was a complete loss in electricity and most telecommunications on Abaco and Grand Bahama during Dorian.
Despite the “considerable damage” to telecommunications infrastructure, major phone companies were able to restore services to affected areas in the weeks after the storm.
The report notes that $42.1 million in damage was caused to the sector.
There was $54.4 million – “the most significant losses” – on Abaco which is expected to continue until December 2021.
“An estimated loss of $13.7 million was made for the remainder of the year 2019; $16.3 million for the year 2020; and $24.4 million for the year 2021,” the report notes.
“Losses were primarily as a result of the absence of commercial power, the extended time needed for network restoration, and the loss of clientele.”
The report also notes “extensive damage” to the electricity grids which totals $131.3 million on the affected islands.
Of that figure, $80.4 million was in damage to transmission and distribution networks on Abaco and $21 million in damage to the flooded power generation plant on Grand Bahama.
There was $68.9 million in losses which is expected to continue until December 2021.
“An estimated loss of $22 million was made for the remainder of the year 2019; $40 million for the year 2020; and $6.8 million for the year 2021,” the report notes.
“Additional costs were estimated at $6.3 million, which mainly reflect extraordinary labor and labor-support costs.”
Since the storm hit, residents on impacted islands have also struggled with poor or non-existent water supply.
On Grand Bahama, residents have complained about brackish water.
According to the report, Dorian caused $14.8 million in damage to water and sanitation facilities and assets.
Its primary effects were on water pumping systems, storage tanks and distribution systems.
As a result of an interruption to piped water services and other issues, losses are estimated at $36.6 million.
“The decrease in water demand during the recovery period due to the decline in tourist numbers and commercial activity is considered a loss through the end of 2019 for an estimated period of 28 months on Abaco and six months on Grand Bahama as well as an estimated loss of demand from 7,339 severely damaged houses on both Islands,” the report notes.
Additional costs are roughly $2.3 million.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice