The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has estimated that The Bahamas has sustained around $7.7 billion in economic losses over the past decade due to devastating hurricanes.
In a new publication entitled “International Good Practices and Lessons in Post Disaster Reconstruction in The Bahamas”, IDB Country Representative Daniela Carrera-Marquis said the trend is expected to continue.
“In just the last decade, this island nation saw eight significant hurricanes, with the after-effects still lingering from Matthew in 2016, Irma in 2017 and most notably, the Category 5 hurricane Dorian in 2019,” she said.
“It is estimated that The Bahamas sustained around $7.7 billion in economic loss during this time, with tens of thousands of its population directly affected by these extreme weather events. Unfortunately, indications are that this pattern will continue in concurrence with the exacerbating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The publication followed a workshop held last year with the Disaster Reconstruction Authority and representatives from countries around the world which have similarly experienced devastating shocks to their economies from natural disasters.
Among other recommendations, The Bahamas was urged to place a greater emphasis moving forward on government and private sector coordination, as well as financial and legal structures to ensure swifter reconstruction following a disaster.
“Increasing and preparing national capacity in standardized damage and loss estimation, enabling expedited procurement for reconstruction and public-private partnership schemes for reconstruction are all priority areas for attention,” the IDB states.
“Investments in training and the development of novel mechanisms to build financing for future reconstruction are also of paramount importance.”
As the country continues with reconstruction efforts post-Dorian, Carrera-Marquis said the IDB remains committed to supporting the government.
“As the leading source of multilateral development financing, the Inter-American Development Bank has proudly been a development partner for The Bahamas for nearly 40 years. In line with our disaster risk management policy, we remain committed to supporting the government of The Bahamas in leading the promotion of a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to managing disaster risk and climate change adaptation in the Caribbean region,” she said.
“The bank recently approved a $600,000 grant project through our Japan Special Fund entitled ‘Capacity Strengthening for a More Resilient Bahamas’. The objective of this technical cooperation project is to support the Bahamas government specifically for efficient and effective post-Hurricane Dorian reconstruction, as well as to improve the nation’s resiliency against future natural disasters.”