NASSAU, BAHAMAS – A newly released Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) report estimates the total cost of the impacts of Hurricane Dorian on The Bahamas at $3.4 billion.
Following the passage of Hurricane Dorian, the government of The Bahamas sought the help of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to assess the resulting damage, losses and additional costs.
The IDB requested the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) for technical assistance with the assessment, with collaboration from the Pan American Health Organization.
It is the fourth assessment in this kind conducted by IDB and ECLAC in The Bahamas since 2015.
“Hurricane Dorian is not an isolated occurrence, but the latest example of recurrent extreme climate events that have changed the Bahamian landscape and impacted its economy,” the report read.
“Given the magnitude of this event, the reconstruction efforts will last many years and it will require major assistance from financing institutions. Reconstruction is expected to be a long-term process, which tests the strength of a country’s institutions. However, it is important that those directly affected by the disaster feel the presence and solidarity of the government throughout the process,” it continued.
According to the newly released report, the estimated damage caused by Hurricane Dorian is $2.5 billion, of which nine percent is public and 91 percent private.
“Abaco suffered 87 percent of the damage and Grand Bahama 13 percent. Losses are estimated as $717.3 million and were sustained primarily in the private sector, which accounted for 84 percent of the total. Seventy percent of the losses took place on Abaco, 15 percent on Grand Bahama, and nine percent in other islands.
“Additional costs add up to $200.9 million, 46.4 percent of those costs were in the environment sector and are associated to the cleaning of the oil spill. A major part of the remainder of the additional costs is related to debris removal and demolition,” the report stated.
It added: “Damage in the social sector was $1.6 billion, 85.3 percent took place on Abaco. Ninety-three percent of the damage was in housing, 4.6 percent in education while 2.4 percent occurred in the health sector. Approximately 93.8 percent of the damage in the social sector happened to private property and the remaining 6.2 percent in public property.
“The productive sector suffered damage estimated to be $620.9 million, most of them in tourism ($529.6 million), followed by commerce ($77.6 million), and fisheries and agriculture ($13.6 million). All damage in the productive sector happened in the private sector. Infrastructure experienced damage amounting to $239.1 million.
“The power sector represents 54.1 percent of the total. The telecommunications sector suffered damage of $42.1 million, transport accounted for $50.8 million and water and sanitation $14.9 million. Approximately 48.6 percent of the damage in the infrastructure sector was to private property and the remaining 51.4 percent was to public property. 66.8 percent of damage of the infrastructure sector took place on Abaco.”
Loss estimates for the social sector are estimated to be $92.4 million, of those $65 million were in housing, $21.4 million in health and $6 million in education, the report read.
“Losses in the Environmental sector were estimated at 27.5 million,” it continued.
“Losses for the productive sector were estimated at approximately $400.3 million. Abaco suffered 83.8 percent of those losses. Tourism accounted for most of the losses (81.2 percent) and suffered the greatest effects. This sector suffered a loss of $325.2 million. The losses in commerce were $65 million and in fisheries and agriculture, $10.1 million. All losses to the productive sector were private.”
The report continued: “The losses in the Infrastructure sector were estimated at $197.1 million. Most of the losses were in the power sector (35 percent), followed by telecommunication (27.6 percent).
“The losses in water and sanitation and transportation were near $19 million each. The public losses in the infrastructure sector were smaller (38.8 percent) than the private sectors (61.2 percent). Abaco suffered 60 percent of the losses of the infrastructure sector.
“The additional costs of the social sector were $37.2 million, followed by the productive sector, $9 million, and infrastructure, $7.4 million. An important part of these costs is related to debris removal and demolition. Costs associated with the emergency response were only partially provided, for example, costs of evacuation were not made available at the time of the finalization of the report,” the report stated.
“The estimated impact of Hurricane Dorian is one percentage point of the GDP. This implies that post-disaster, the economy is expected to grow 0.9 percent. This will result in a decrease in salaries of $51.3 million and capital income of $60.9 million. The situation is different when the focus is on local economic activity.
“In the case of Abaco, the impact was estimated at 7.3 percent of its GDP, which is estimated to be 47 percent and 60 percent decrease of the country’s remuneration and capital, respectively. On Grand Bahama, the impact was 2.0 of its GDP,” the report added.