This briefing paper highlights how lessons from history and past recovery can inform decisions around 'building back better' after hurricanes Irma and Maria. These two Category 5 hurricanes caused total losses estimated at US$130 billion.
This briefing paper has been prepared to help policy-makers and practitioners strengthen recovery in the Caribbean after the 2017 hurricanes. The challenges for promoting a more resilient Caribbean are significant; this will require a comprehensive disaster impact assessment (to understand what was most affected and why), legal and regulatory reforms, a recovery strategy closely linked to existing development and investment plans, and more participatory forms of planning than many of these countries had in place prior to the hurricanes. It will also require more systematic use of hazard information and climate science in planning decisions, to manage future risks.