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Climate Resilience, The Environment, Forestry, Fisheries & Disaster Management

Natural Disasters

Natural Disasters

Grenada’s Risk Profile

 

Natural Hazard Risk

Grenada is exposed to several natural hazards such as coastal floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme heat, landslides, and tsunamis. The country is characterized by its mountainous terrain, with only 3 percent of Grenada’s land area located at sea level. Main towns and key socio-economic facilities are built along the coast, making Grenada particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms.

Hurricanes pose one of the most significant risks to the country. Annual average loss (AAL) from hurricanes is $8.2 million (0.9% of GDP) and probable maximum loss from hurricanes (250 year return period) is $397 million (42.6% of GDP). Significantly, in September 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck the coast of Grenada, resulting in an estimated $800 million in losses. Deaths attributed to the storm were roughly 30 people, while infrastructure damages and agricultural losses were estimated at twice of Grenada’s GDP for 2004. While still recovering from Hurricane Ivan, another Hurricane Emily hit the country in July 2005, causing an anestimated economic impact of about $110 million.

Climate models have predicted Grenada will experience a warming and drying trend in the future and more frequent heat waves, droughts, and rainfalls with increased intensity. The average annual temperature is projected to increase up to 0.7 – 2.6 degrees Centigrade by 2060s.

Government Priorities

The Government of Grenada has taken steps to strengthen the country’s disaster risk management (DRM) and develop strategies to promote resilient planning. In 1985, the government established the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) to coordinate disaster-related activities on all three islands of Grenada. Under the supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister, the department’s mission is to reduce the loss of life and infrastructure by ensuring adequate preparedness, response, and mitigation measures are in place to deal with the impact of natural hazards.

Following Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005, the government introduced its National Disaster Plan to help the country recover from, and prepare for, disasters in the future. The NDP is a disaster response organization that involves key stakeholders, including government departments, local communities, and private sector. Its goal is to mobilize resources to manage various aspects of a disaster and stabilize the country as quickly as possible.

To further advance, Grenada DRM and climate resilience agenda, government priorities include:

  • Establishing a program for emergency and disaster response to ensure effective resource applications in the event of an emergency;
  • Improving institutional capacity to plan and respond to natural hazards; and,
  • Increasing the understanding of natural hazard and climate change risk.

 

The Caribbean region, in general, is prone to natural disasters. The natural hazards profile for the region over the last few decades is as follows:

National Hazard Profile

Period Natural Hazards
1960s 16
1970s 13
1980s 41
1990s 48
2000 to present 54

Source: GOG, 2005

There is a clear trend of increasing incidences of natural hazards in the region.

On September 07, 2004, Hurricane Ivan visited Grenada with sustained wind speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour with gusts of over 145mph. The storm caused extensive damage to the country.

The estimated damage was in excess of 200 percent of the country’s gross domestic product with extensive damage to the major economic sectors, the built infrastructure and the national ecosystems. Eleven months later the island was again visited by another devastating hurricane, Hurricane Emily which brought further damage to the fragile ecosystem.

The damage assessment report for related categories of environmental assets for Hurricane Ivan is provided in the table below.

Damage Assessment: Selected Indicators

Environmental Asset Intensity of Damage Extent of Damage Functioning of Asset Duration of Impact Recovery of Asset
Mangroves Medium 70% Adverse effect Short to Medium term Natural/requires appropriate environmental protection measures
Seagrass beds Minor <10% No effect Short term Natural
Coral reefs Minor <10% No effect Short term Natural
Beaches Major >50% Adverse Short to Medium term Natural
Forest and Natural Vegetation Extreme 100% Intense impairment of the functioning of the asset Long term Irreversible damage. Requires concentrated environmental protection measures.
Wildlife Extreme 100% Impairment of the functioning of the asset Medium to Long term Requires concentrated. environmental protection measures.
Fisheries Minor <10% No effect Medium to long term Natural

Source: Grenada: Macro-Socio-Economic Assessment of Damaged Cause by Hurricane Ivan, OECS

There is an active underwater volcano, Kick ´en Jenny located within 10km from the North East of Grenada and between the islands of Grenada and Carriacou. Kick ´en Jenny is reported to be the most active underwater volcano in the region.