$1.3B in damages caused by floods annually in Georgetown
The European firm, Vivid Economics, on Tuesday, handed over a report on Climate Resilience Support for Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility to the Central Housing and Planning Authority (CH&PA) where it was revealed that some $1.3 billion is lost every year in Georgetown as a result of flooding.
The lead consultant from the agency, Charlie Dixon, shared a few findings during his presentation, which indicated that not only is the vast sum a reason for concern presently but in years to come, as it is expected to increase significantly with oil production.
He said that gas emissions are projected to increase to some “1200 KT CO2” (carbon dioxide), which will also increase massively in 20 years’ time. Carbon dioxide emissions are those that stem from the burning of fossil fuels and others.
These results are all tied to the fact that commercial, as well as residential activities, will increase in Georgetown soon. According to him, about 130,000 people presently reside in Georgetown and this figure will increase to around 200,000 by 2040.
Dixon said, “At the present day, the risk of flooding is expected in the wider Georgetown area to cause around $1.3 billion of damage every single year…so then as we look to 2040, looking into the future as climate change worsens and we expect these flooding effects to become more impactful, that number rises by round about a factor of four, so expected damaged are round about $4 billion”.
He explained that with the increase of not only residential but industrial behaviours contributing to climate change in the city, these effects are likely to be felt.
Dixon, however, pointed out that there is still hope for the country as several strategies can be implemented to ensure the capital city remains intact.
Among those noted, was current sea defence structures, which the consultant told members of the media should be rehabilitated while the drainage system in and around the city needs to be addressed. He also told the Central Housing and Planning Authority that they may need to direct commercial and residential development away from high-risk areas in Georgetown while the onus may be upon the Government to restore and expand mangrove conservation and sediment control structures.
In the meantime, the Director at CH&PA, Lelon Saul, assured that efforts will be exhausted to ensure that such issues relating to climate change are addressed.
He said, “Given the threat posed by climate change, we are compelled to build capacity and access finance and technical support in order to combat these threats. The Climate Resilience Support for Adequate Housing and Urban Accessibility programme will enable us to strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in Georgetown and its environs”.
In this regard, Saul pointed out that the study will trigger an implementation of integrated policies and plans to tackle the issue.
The Director further noted that the municipal authorities, as well as relevant Government agencies, will be engaged going forward.
The study was funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). Its objectives are to help the CH&PA improve access to adequate housing, basic infrastructure and mobility services for low-income populations among others.
Owing to garbage pile-ups in Georgetown, clogged drains and trenches and the mere fact that the city is below sea level, almost every time heavy rainfall is experienced, the streets are flooded.