Hurricanes cost the Bahamas 8 Percent of GDP

Published 30 March 2006

As we get ready for the 2006 hurricane season, it would help to consider what previous such seasons cost; in the Bahamas they concluded that the 2004 season cost 8 percent of GDP; the figures for the 2005 seas are not yet in

Hurricanes cost the Bahamas 8 Percent of GDP

The Bahamas prime minister Perry Christie, reflecting on the 2004 hurricane season in the Caribbean, said that “Some $200 million was sustained in direct losses [in the Bahamas] and $300 million in insured infrastructure damage.” These figures mean that hurricanes cost the Bahamas about 8 percent of its GDP. “This monetary loss is not by itself an accurate indicator of proportionate loss or associated social cost for vulnerable groups,” he added. “Our experiences during the past two hurricane seasons point to the fact that we needed to be better prepared.”

The prime minister said the hurricanes brought into sharp focus the challenges of responding to high magnitude hazard impacting events. Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne created widespread devastation in parts of the country, particularly in the northern Bahamas where the situation was compounded by Hurricane Wilma last October. The tally of the cost of the 2005 hurricane season is not yet complete.

The prime minister noted that as the country is only nine weeks away from the official start of the hurricane season that commences on 1 June, people should be aware that meteorologists have already forecasted that the 2006 Atlantic Hurricane Season will be “an extremely active” one.