NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A Bahamian coastal engineer yesterday warned The Bahamas must take steps to “adapt to survive” the increasing intensity of natural disasters.
Carlos Palacious told attendees at the Bahamas Institute of Chartered Accountants (BICA) Accountants Month conference, “no one is coming to save us every time”.
Palacious is the managing principal of BRON, the umbrella organization for several engineering and technical related entities.
He stressed this nation must use data to aid in decisions on sustainable development.
“We saw the Americans and other nations come to our rescue,” Palacious said.
“We saw all the social media tweets and celebrities flying in. Do you think that they are going to come every year after every storm.
“We were blessed as a nation that hurricane did not hit the US otherwise the response would have been much different.”
Palacious said the country must adapt to climate change in a realistic and intentional way.
“If you live in a house that is over 10 years old it’s not built you are living in a structure that does not meet the current code,” he continued.
“Hurricane Dorian exceeded every code we have in the known developed world and exceeded our current code. If you live in a building over 10 years old you are not even up to the current code.”
Palacious noted other countries around the world have adapted to climate change related challenges.
“This is not a challenge the rest of the world hasn’t dealt with,” he said.
“The Netherlands is substantially below sea level. Mexico City is substantially below sea level. This is not a challenge the world has never seen. It’s a challenge The Bahamas has never been forced to respond to.”
Palacious suggested natural dunes can be used to mitigate following and retention ponds can be built to mitigate the impact of flooding, with the fill used to raise the land on which buildings are erected.
He also underscored the need for proper zoning and coastal protections.