By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
WITH an estimated $3.4bn in losses and damage caused by Hurricane Dorian in the northern Bahamas, State Minister for Disaster Reconstruction Iram Lewis has warned there will be a review and more “aggressive” approach in enforcing the building code.
He also indicated that in reviewing the code, recommendations likely could arise for “no build” and “restrictive building” in some vulnerable areas.
While speaking during the launch of the Small Homes Repair Programme in Grand Bahama on Monday, Mr Lewis stressed the toughening and enforcement of the code would reduce the risk associated with superstorms like Dorian.
“In reviewing the code and considering the storm surges attached to superstorms, it is likely that recommendations may arise with respect to no-build and restrictive building in areas or zones deemed dangerously susceptible to the worst types of flooding,” he said.
“While reviewing the building code is important, in this circumstance, we must realise that without enforcement of the code, moving forward would be fruitless, hence it is our intention to be more aggressive in enforcement of the code.”
Mr Lewis said the government is committed to learning from what transpired in the wake of Hurricane Dorian and to prepare for future storms.
The home repair programme is for residences in the designated disaster zones.
The initiative aims to help those in need of resources to restore their homes to liveable standards, giving rise to more economic development and normalcy in the zones, he explained.
With some scientists warning that powerful storms could occur more frequently due to climate change, Mr Lewis said governments of small, vulnerable nations must take stringent measures to protect against damage.
“In the era of climate change, Category Five storms are more frequent, and they are especially threats, to economic, social and environmental development of small island nations of the Caribbean region,” he said.
“Based on empirical evidence, it is likely that superstorms will continue to intensify, hence it is incumbent upon government and the people of countries that are impacted by these storms to undertake stringent measures deemed necessary to mitigate the destruction of superstorms,” Mr Lewis said.