NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Lessons learned from natural disasters around the world were explored in relation to The Bahamas’ post hurricane Dorian reconstruction in a workshop hosted by the Inter-American Development Bank on Monday.
The webinar – under the theme ‘Good Practices and Lessons Learned in Post Disaster Reconstruction’ – introduced methods, policies and strategic actions that were adopted in other countries’ post-disaster recovery plans. Presentations were shared on international experiences of how post-disaster public agencies in various countries were established, how they prepared reconstruction master plans, and how they effectively implemented their post-disaster reconstruction programs.
Country Representative Daniela Carrera-Marquis pledged the IDB’s continued assistance to the Government of The Bahamas in efficient and effective post-hurricane reconstruction. She noted the island nation saw eight significant hurricanes in the last ten years, with aftereffects of Matthew in 2016, Irma in 2017 and the category 5 hurricane Dorian in 2019 still lingering.
“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 and multi-stakeholder approach to managing disaster risk and climate change adaptation in the Caribbean region,” Carrera-Marquis said.
The session kicked off with remarks centering on “building back better” from Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis. Katherine Forbes-Smith, the managing director of the Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority, shared the status of The Bahamas’ post-Dorian reconstruction during her keynote address.
During the webinar, country case studies were examined with reconstruction programs and disaster settings that reflect natural hazard environments that may be applicable to The Bahamas. The case studies include Hurricanes Irma and Maria in the British Virgin Islands in 2017, Cyclone Nargis in Myanmar in 2008, and the north-eastern earthquake/tsunami in Japan in 2011.
Panelist included the Director of the Projects Department at the Caribbean Development Bank Daniel Best, Dr. Kensuke Otsuyama – researcher at the Research Center for Advanced Science and Technology in The University of Tokyo, and Hideharu Tanaka – principal sector advisor in disaster risk management at the Inter-American Development Bank.
The speakers shared important lessons learned to be considered when preparing for and implementing present as well as future post-disaster reconstruction/recovery programs in The Bahamas. A short policy brief titled Recommendations for effective and efficient reconstruction/resilience governance for The Bahamas, will be developed as an output of this workshop.