Government is acutely aware of the need to strengthen the capacity of this country to not only manage risk, but also to deal with disasters.
Minister of Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development, Donville Inniss, said that in keeping with regional trends, Barbados has therefore adopted a comprehensive approach to effectively and efficiently manage emergencies and disasters.
He made these comments as he addressed the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry???s Workshop entitled Ensuring a Resilient Economy through Partnership in Disaster Response at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, recently.
The application of resilience, advised Mr. Inniss, is based on an approach that disaster management is not solely the domain of emergency management agencies, but rather it is the shared responsibility between Government, businesses and individuals.??He further suggested that the private sector had an integral role to play in our quest as a country to become more disaster resilient.
???I am particularly pleased at this initiative of the private sector to become more involved in managing disaster risk from a national perspective???.Investing in disaster risk reduction is therefore necessary, since every dollar spent reducing our people???s vulnerability to disaster will ultimately reduce our economic losses.
Any investment in prevention will not only increase our resilience as a country to future disasters, but will protect our economic growth and other development achievements from being eroded in a single catastrophic event,??? he said.
Referring to a number of disasters over the last 10 years, the Minister said a look around the region would still show the socio-economic impact and devastation caused.
???The damage assessment and economic analysis reports indicated that damages as a result of Hurricane Ivan ??? totalled over US$800 million, or twice Grenada???s Gross Domestic Product (GDP),??? he pointed out, while adding that according to a World Bank report the hurricane impact was responsible for a US$26 million or 24 per cent decline of the GDP in 2004.
In addition, the Business Minister indicated that the earthquake which impacted Haiti in 2010 caused an estimated US$7 billion in damage and losses.??
???Also, Hurricane Tomas in 2010 affected Barbados, St. Lucia and St. Vincent. In Barbados we would have had some level of social dislocation, disruption to services, as well as damages and losses warranting a payout from the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility to the tune of US$8.5 M to assist us in the recovery process,??? he stated.
The Minister pointed out that the impact of these events continued to punctuate our road to development, with substantial economic and social setbacks, and reinforced the need for the reduction of hazard and disaster impacts.