NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Even now, the scars of Hurricane Dorian remain, but the stories of those who survived the monstrous Category 5 storm are giving clues about how The Bahamas and other Small Island Developing States (SIDS) can adapt and address the vulnerabilities to climate change.
“I Survived Dorian” has become more than a bittersweet cry of triumph. It is the title of a research project dedicated to chronicling the voices of those who experienced Dorian and lived to talk about it.
The project is a community science research initiative of the Climate Change Adaption and Resilience Research Centre (CCARR) of University of The Bahamas (UB) in conjunction with the Open Society Foundation and the Heritage Partners.
UB Senior Fellow and human-environment geographer Dr Adelle Thomas said: “Hurricane Dorian is an example that shows the broad array of impacts that we can expect from climate change and that these impacts affected people differently.
“We need to better prepare for the impacts of climate change so that we can reduce our chances of experiencing this level of devastation again.”
In September, the CCARR Centre officially launched the website, which features a short documentary on Hurricane Dorian survivors developed in collaboration with the Heritage Partners. It also showcases written and verbal testimonials, the results of a disaster risk management survey and resources to increase education and awareness of climate change.
By collecting, assessing and chronicling the many different experiences associated with Hurricane Dorian, the CCARR Centre’s aim was to highlight the direct and indirect impacts of the storm; how the storm affected people differently; learn people’s views on how disaster management can be improved; and how social inequities that led to different experiences can be addressed.
The ultimate goal, however, is to encourage Bahamians to be active participants in disaster management and climate change adaptation, and to bring greater awareness and understanding of how climate change affects The Bahamas in particular.
Disaster Risk Specialist Barrise Griffin joined the project team as a research associate shortly after the CCARR Centre successfully obtained the grant and played a critical role in collecting the stories of Dorian, developing the survey on disaster risk management and compiling all of the other project components.
The website is more than an opportunity to view survivors’ stories. Visitors can also submit their own Hurricane Dorian story, even if they were not directly affected.
The organizers asserted: “Knowledge sharing is integral to formulating sound adaptation strategies. Given the significance and sheer magnitude of Hurricane Dorian, every bit of information helps.”
The “I Survived Dorian” website is accessible at: https://www.isurviveddorian.org.