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Hurricanes offer further proof of climate crisis

Hurricane Ian spared the Cayman Islands but plunged 11 million Cubans into darkness

Last week this time Bermuda was bracing for the possible impact of Hurricane Fiona. Not just any old run-of-the-mill hurricane but a deadly Category 4 weather system. The intensity of a Category 4 system has shown itself to be destructive beyond belief.

Recent victims of hurricanes Irma and Maria would be Barbuda, Sint Maarten/St Martin, Anguilla, Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Dominica and Turks & Caicos Islands in 2017. Then in 2019, Hurricane Dorian literally destroyed Abaco in the Bahamas. Suffice it to say, had Fiona made landfall, we might have had a similar experience as we did with Hurricane Fabian in 2003.

By the grace of God, Fiona veered to the west of us.

More than 29,000 customers lost their electrical supply, some marine vessels became “submarines”, and we lost a bit of foliage. Apart from that, Bermuda emerged unscathed. This is largely because of our rigid building codes that have stood the test of time for a few centuries.

Our neighbours in the Canadian maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and other areas were not so lucky. Their building codes are not designed for hurricanes, much less those of Category 4 strength. So, unfortunately, many of their structures did not survive.

Less than five days after Fiona passed us, Hurricane Ian was taking square aim at our sister Overseas Territory of the Cayman Islands. Fortunately for them, the hurricane veered to the west, sparing them extensive flooding and untold infrastructure damage. In total they had fewer than 500 homes out of power.

Unfortunately, for Cuba and western Florida, Ian made landfall.

In Cuba, the entire electrical grid collapsed leaving more than ten million in darkness. Florida saw the mandatory evacuation of three million persons from its west coast. Subsequently, thousands of utility workers have been mobilised to restore power in both these locations.

The sad reality is that climate change is with us for the foreseeable future. To save on oil costs, many European nations are now forced to fire up closed coal fired plants. The net result is the heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.

Both Bermuda and Cayman Islands have dodged separate hurricanes thus far. Canada, Cuba and Florida, not so lucky. Perhaps, just perhaps, it is now sinking in that we are in a climate crisis.

Stay prepared, as this hurricane season still has another few weeks to go.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published September 30, 2022 at 11:30 am (Updated September 30, 2022 at 11:30 am)

Hurricanes offer further proof of climate crisis

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