By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
PRE-STORM impact data analysis put the country’s capital exposure from Hurricane Dorian at $8.1 billion with a projected impact to more than 70,000 Bahamians.
Data from the Pacific Disaster Center, obtained by The Tribune, shows potential needs of 220,000 liters of water per day.
Those estimates were recorded on Friday, and officials say the figures have since increased.
At the NEMA headquarters on Sunday, the Tribune was told the number of people exposed to potential tropical cyclone winds had climbed to 76,000.
Of that figure, children under 15 years old account for 22 per cent, and people older than 64 for eight per cent.
Abaco and Grand Bahama remain the main focus for officials at NEMA's headquarters at Gladstone Road.
The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Pacific Disaster Center and PAHO are assisting NEMA and the Bahamas government with tracking the storm, response and recovery.
CDEMA programme manager Joanne Persad did not provide updated pre-impact figures; however, she explained the data was being used to coordinate post-storm response.
"It's called pre-impact data analysis," she explained, "we identify what is the estimated amount of people that can be impacted and the level of impact. We identify what their priority needs would be."
She continued: "Saving lives entails either search and rescue operations, mass casualty management, or medical response. If people are stranded in flood waters the priority would be to rescue them and bring them to a safe area or shelter. Those type of operations will be determined post impact. What we do is plan for them, so if we have to work on pre-positioning resources and personnel that's ongoing at this point in time."
Ms Persad said a rapid needs assessment will be dispatched once the all clear is given. The team will verify real impact and provide a qualitative assessment.
On Sunday, Social Services minister Frankie Campbell said: “The thing about it is, not withstanding that ($8.1bn estimate), it wouldn’t be expected that that number is addressed all at once and so it is a
question of prioritising the human needs. Quite a bit of that will be infrastructural needs and so our objective would be to ensure that our people are safe. The human needs are met, the basic needs food, shelter and clothing are met, and then we’ll carry on down the line.”
“What we are doing is ensuring that we don’t operate in silos. Ensuring that all of the persons who are offering assistance in any way shape or form, that all of our assistance is channeled through NEMA to ensure
that you have one entity approaching the Ministry of Finance asking for VAT exemptions or whatever other exemptions there are and to ensure that things are properly channeled.”
Brad Milliken, Pacific Disaster Center disaster analyst explained the billion dollar sum reflected what's exposed to the monster Category 5 storm, not how much it will cost to rebuild.
Impact projections are updated every 12 or 24 hours, depending on the proximity of the storm.
Mr Milliken told The Tribune current estimates put the number of meals at roughly 40,000 meals per day.
"So for planning purposes when we look at how much the damage is going to cost - it's going to be significantly less than this, that's just the total value of everything exposed, this is all just pre-impact.
Mr Milliken said: "It's home values, the structures themselves, the property that it's on and then it's all infrastructure and what it would cost to replace it. (Capital exposure) that's the full cost for the catastrophic damage in this band. It's saying there is a potential that there couldn't be anything left so the full cost to replace every home, recoup all the land, all the infrastructure all the government assets everything in that band, that's the full cost of just taking an eraser and removing everything."
The PDC's impact data analysis is based on Hurricane Dorian's track through northwestern Bahamas, with Abaco and Grand Bahama projected to suffer catastrophic damage. As of Friday, the center projected severe impact to communications, power and transportation with an impact from potential wind exposure to 21,000 total households across those two islands.