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Stark warning over flood risk because of global warming

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Flooding will become a major problem for Bermuda as global warming increases, a risk analyst warned yesterday.

Floods like this could get worse according to a speaker at the Youth Climate Summit

Angela A’Zary, the senior vice-president of client risk analytics at reinsurance firm RenaissanceRe, said that flood-prone areas such as Mill Creek Road in Pembroke were likely to see worse and more frequent floods.

She added that, although other areas may be spared high-tide problems or storm surges, they could suffer floods because of heavy rain.

Ms A’Zary said: “Flooding in low-elevation areas is really the canary in the coalmine for communities like Bermuda.”

She was speaking on the fourth day of the Youth Climate Summit organised by the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

The virtual conference looked at defences against the impact of climate change what others could do to help.

Ms A’Zary, a specialist in disaster risk assessment, warned that stronger storms and hurricanes would have “the most catastrophic impact” on the island in the future.

She added that, even if hurricanes did not make direct hits on the island, strong winds and storm surges could cause massive damage.

Ms A’Zary emphasised it was important to keep hurricane-force winds out of homes – otherwise they could be torn apart.

She urged listeners to make sure the hinges in their doors allowed them to be opened outwards and to reinforce garage doors for hurricane resistance.

Ms A’Zary added that windows should be closed during hurricanes, despite a common belief that they should be opened.

She explained: “If you look really closely at your roof, you’ll start to see little tiny holes in your roofs so that way the air gets out.

“If you open up your windows it leaves an area for the hurricane force winds to come in, which is exactly what we don’t want to happen.”

On thin ice: climate change is undeniable. It is real and it is happening now

Ms A’Zary warned the audience not to tape their windows because large shards of glass could become lethal shrapnel if they broke during a storm.

She also appealed to householders to make sure their windows were properly sealed and did not have rusted hinges.

Ms A’Zary said it was known which areas of the island would be most affected by floods and storm surges – but the next step would be to find ways to protect them.

She added: "Make sure you go out and advocate for the areas and the people that need extra help.

“We have found that lower-income neighbourhoods generally need additional support to protect themselves.

“The Government is going to be making an effort to fix this, which is going to depend on not just the public but private co-operation.”

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Published November 26, 2021 at 7:52 am (Updated November 26, 2021 at 7:46 am)

Stark warning over flood risk because of global warming

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