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Bahamas Must 'Adapt To Survive' Major Hurricanes

By NATARIO McKENZIE

Tribune Business Reporter

nmckenzie@tribunemedia.net

THE Bahamas must heed the lessons learned from major hurricanes in recent years and "adapt to survive", a coastal engineer urged yesterday.

Carlos Palacious, director of operations at Caribbean Coastal Services, addressing a press conference to promote next Thursday's annual Bahamas Business Outlook conference, said the Bahamas has many challenges to overcome as a small island developing state. "We have seen many of our neighbouring countries take out massive loans to try and restore, and maintain, just a basic livelihood in this changing environment," he said. "We as a small island developing state have a lot of challenges to overcome.

"We have had three major storms in three years, and so we know that the intensity and frequency of these storms will only be increasing. We as a nation have spent hundreds of millions of dollars in the last few years trying to recover and prepare ourselves for these storms. It is important for us to remember certain things. We have to adapt, change our culture and livelihood so we can be well prepared. It is a part of our survival."

Mr Palacious suggested that a "mindset shift" may also be needed. "The same way we prepare for Christmas and Back to School, we have to be able to set aside some money and prepare ourselves for the hurricane season," he added. "From a policy standpoint there is work that needs to occur as it relates to our building code, our standards, what is allowed to be built, in what area and to what minimal height. We have known about climate change for some 30 years, and we know about sea level rise, and we must realise that we all have a part to play."

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