The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane Season ended November 30 as the seventh most active season covering 166 years. The season produced 17 named storms of which 10 became hurricanes, including six major hurricanes (Category 3, 4 or 5) and was also the most active season since 2005. The statistics are based on the Accumulated Cyclone Energy index, which measures the combined intensity and duration of the storms during the season and is used to classify the strength of the entire 2017 hurricane season. And it could get worse going forward. Addressing the Opening Session of the week-long 10th Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Conference currently underway in New Providence, Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said various climate models suggest that damage from natural disasters have increased sharply. Such damage, the Prime Minister said, is likely to worsen, especially from flooding.
The underlying culprit — climate change as a result of global warming. “The National Wildlife Foundation in the United States notes: ‘The latest science connecting hurricanes and global warming suggests more is yet to come,’” Prime Minister Minnis said. “Professor Kerry Emmanuel of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology notes: ‘Global warming is tangibly increasing hurricane risks around the world.’ “Tropical Storms,” Prime Minister Minnis continued, “are likely to bring higher wind speeds, more precipitation, and bigger storm surge in the coming decades. “Prime Minister Minnis said Small Island Developing States (SIDS) such as The Bahamas and other low-lying, coastal countries of the Caribbean and the Pacific region, are at great risk of climate change. “We must develop new mindsets and protocols in this era of Super Storms,” Dr. Minnis told conference delegates, many of them from the Caribbean and Pacific regions in addition to their international counterparts. “We are constantly reminded that the countries in our region are located in one of the most hurricane-prone areas in the world. The risks we face threaten our fragile economies, and demand that we have in place, sound, disaster risk management systems. “We must continue to build disaster resilient communities through partnerships for resilience. As a region, we must continue to press through CARICOM, the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS), the United Nations and in other international fora for the promised assistance from Developed countries to help countries in our region to mitigate the effects of climate change, overwhelmingly caused by Developed countries.”
Prime Minister Minnis said as a low-lying, coastal state, The Bahamas has undertaken a number of initiatives aimed at mitigating the effects of climate change and its byproducts. “Our NEMA team has met with the CDEMA Coordinating Unit to discuss the Country Work Programme and its alignment with national goals identified in the regional CDM Strategy. “Our priorities are a mapping of vulnerable areas and community preparedness. We are building capacity in our Family islands and working to bring communities to a point where they can respond as quickly as possible in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, including logistical capacity.”