Total losses for commerce sector on impacted islands estimated at $65 million
NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The commerce sector on hurricane-ravaged islands sustained total losses at $65 million, according to a recent report by the Inter-American Development Bank.
The report, titled “Assessment of the Effects and Impacts of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas”, stated the effect on the commerce sector was greater on Abaco than Grand Bahama as the eye of the storm passed through the commercial center of Marsh Harbour.
The losses to the sector are projected to occur over the expected length of recovery. On Grand Bahama, the losses are expected to accrue over just four months, while on Abaco it is expected to take a full three years.
“The structures that were made of concrete survived with less damage, while those made of lighter materials fared much worse,” the report read.
“The total damage was estimated at $77.5 million for the commerce sector: $71.4 million on Abaco, and $6.2 million on Grand Bahama.”
Due to the destruction of property and vital infrastructure, as well as the evacuation of residents, commercial expenditure will fall to zero in the month of the disaster and then gradually make its way back to pre-disaster levels as the recovery goes on,” the report said.
“The total losses estimated for the commerce sector are $65 million: $64.5 million on Abaco and $0.5 million on Grand Bahama. Assessing over time, losses will be $22.1 million or 34 percent of the total in 2019, $34.9 million or 54 percent in 2020, $7.2 million or 11 percent in 2021, and 0.8 million or 1 percent in 2022.
It continued: “The additional costs for this sector comprise debris removal and demolition. At the time of the Assessment team’s site visit to Abaco, there was still an extensive amount of debris in Marsh Harbour. Debris removal and demolition of damaged properties will be expensive and will take additional time on Abaco.
“The total additional costs for the commerce sector are estimated at $4.8 million: $3.8 million on Abaco and $1 million on Grand Bahama.”
Government has estimated that it could lose around $200 million in revenue as a result of Hurricane Dorian’s impact on the economies of Abaco and Grand Bahama. Abaco and Grand Bahama represent between 15-20 per cent of the country’s GDP.
The IDB report also revealed that total damage to the power sector as a result of Hurricane Dorian Dorian is estimated at $131.3 million, noting that recovery in the sector could take as much as two years resulting in an estiamted total loss of nearly $70 million.
The IDB report noted that the monster storm caused extensive damage to the power generation, transmission and distribution systems on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“Total damage in the power sector was estimated at $131.3 million, of which the largest lineitems were $80.4 million in damage to the transmission and distribution networks on Abaco and $21 million in damage to the flooded power generation plant on Grand Bahama,” the report noted.
It read: “Total losses were estimated at $68.9 million, reflecting the value of power that was not sold, both because of damage to the transmission and distribution network and because of the reduction in demand for electricity as a result of storm damage.
“Losses were estimated until December 2021 as recovery is expected to take at least this time or even longer to return to normal levels. 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. Additional costs were estimated at $6.3 million, which mainly reflects extraordinary labor and labor-support costs.”
The report also noted that damage to facilities and assets associated with water and sanitation are estimated at $14.8 million.
“The hurricane primarily affected water pumping systems, storage tanks, distribution system and its related damage related to WSC assets that were destroyed in the event,” it continued.
“Losses are related to interruption of piped water service both residential and other economic sectors, losses of volumes of water due to system leaks, sewerage and waste collection and 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 of loss of demand from 7,339 severely damage houses on both Islands.”
Additional costs such as additional labor and construction equipment, emergency power generation and solid waste management is estimated at $2.3 million.
These costs, the report stated, also referred to the expense of managing cleaning activities, costs for disaster assessment and recovery teams deployed, and payment to fulfill restoration work.