An aerial view shows devastation after Hurricane Dorian hit the Abaco Islands in The Bahamas, September 3, 2019, in this image obtained via social media. (Reuters)
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WASHINGTON – 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 persons 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). (CMC)