Barbados is now better positioned to examine coastal risks in relation to eight hazards likely to affect the island, and monetise the impacts of those hazards.
Deputy Director of the Coastal Zone Management Unit (CZMU), Antonio Rowe, made this disclosure, as he addressed a session during a virtual High-Level Dialogue on Climate Action in the Americas, recently.
He explained that through interventions from the Inter-American Development Bank and data collected, the CZMU was able to update information to conduct coastal and vulnerability assessments of hazards.
Those hazards, he said, include tsunamis, storm surge, oil spills, terrestrial flooding, earthquakes, landslides and hurricane winds.
Following the interventions, hazard maps and hazard assessments were done, and the information entered on the Geographical Information System platform, which is referred to as the National Coastal Risk Information Planning Platform.
“Based on that and other inputs, we can now look at all those hazards where they affect the coastline, buildings, residential (houses), the economy…as it relates to those hazards and we have costs as well,” Mr. Rowe said.
He added that through the systems now in in place, the CZMU was also able to monetise the impacts of these hazards, and advise Government on the best places to build critical infrastructure to avoid it being exposed to possible damage.
However, in circumstances where the infrastructure has to go into a potentially affected area, the CZMU is also positioned to give advice on how it may be designed to withstand the impacts of the hazard to which it may be exposed.
“That is building resiliency in the planning part and not afterwards. That is how Barbados builds resilience to our coastal area,” he outlined, noting it was also achieved through integrated coastal zone management.
He stated that Barbados’ coastal resilience was built primarily through engineering interventions, such as the Richard Haynes Boardwalk in Hastings, Christ Church, which was funded through the IDB.
These, he pointed out, were designed to include issues such as climate change, and encompassed sea level rise and the intensity and frequency of storms.