The Government of The Bahamas has taken a position of developing a Comprehensive Disaster Management (CDM) Strategy as it relates to the hazards the country faces. The strategy is an integrated approach to disaster management that encompasses the management of all hazards through all phases of the disaster management cycle – namely: prevention and mitigation, preparedness, response, recovery and rehabilitation, Min. of State in the Office of the Prime Minister with responsibility for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, the Hon. Myles LaRoda said Monday.
“The Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas takes very seriously its responsibility to mitigate or lessen the degree of risks within our communities and to provide the necessary support to prepare and rebuild communities in the face of a disaster,” Mr. LaRoda said. “While disasters or their impact cannot be prevented, it is imperative that we arm themselves with the ability to effectively manage disasters.”
The State-Minister made the comments while addressing a Press Conference held at the National Emergency Management Agency’s (NEMA) Headquarters on Gladstone Road to promote Disaster Preparedness Month in The Bahamas.
May has been designated Disaster Preparedness Month in The Bahamas. State-Minister LaRoda said effective disaster management depends upon the consistent coordination and integration of the work of many agencies, organizations, individuals and the community at large.
“Our nation is in the precarious position of having to change the way we perceive disaster risks within a changing climate,” Minister LaRoda said.
“The influence of climate change has already begun to change our way of life by fueling the development of super storms that strengthen quicker and keep their intensity longer. Whereas Category 5 storms, as seen with the impact of the September 2019 Hurricane Dorian, were once rare, they now occur with disturbing frequency.
“Hurricane Dorian’s landing in September, 2019, demonstrated the potential of these storms in the era of climate change. Dorian hit at Category 5 strength with maximum sustained winds of 185 miles per hour. The storm’s wind gusts of 220 miles per hour and surge of more than 20 feet caused devastation across Abaco and Grand Bahama.
“Dorian is the worst natural hazard in the country’s history. This hazard resulted in a mammoth disaster. We lost family, friends and neighbors. The storm caused an estimated 3.4 billion dollars in losses and damage.”
State-Minister LaRoda said throughout the Month of May, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) — in collaboration with its
partners — will “reach out” to members of the general public with engaging, educational and informative activities and information geared toward preparedness and what role individual Bahamians and Bahamian communities can play in these efforts. Some of the activities, which will run the course of the month of May, an in some cases, through the end of the Hurricane Season will include: a multi-media campaign blitz across television, radio and social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
The aim is to reach all citizens and residents wherever they are with messages of disaster preparedness and the role they can play in their own safety. Media interviews and programmes with messages of preparedness have also been scheduled in addition to a comprehensive Exhibition that will be mounted on the grounds of the Farmers Market Site Gladstone Road on Saturday 28th May where disaster management partners will exhibit and share their role in disaster management.
“Let us be prepared,” State-Minister LaRoda urged Bahamians and residents everywhere.