- Documents and publications
Disaster recovery in The Bahamas: a legal and policy survey
This report seeks to analyse the strengths and gaps of the legal and policy frameworks related to disaster recovery in The Bahamas, particularly within the context of the ongoing recovery efforts from Hurricane Dorian, as well as examining the provisions of the new Disaster Risk Management Act, 2022. Like other Caribbean countries, The Bahamas had previously placed little focus on disaster recovery in its laws and policies. However, by November 2019, following Hurricane Dorian, the government passed legislation to establish the Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) and the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction was formed. In 2020, the Resilient Recovery Policy and the Resilient Recovery Strategy and Implementation Plan were developed which demonstrated the government's commitment to increasing its resilience to future shocks and its capacity to recover, while at the same time addressing the needs of ongoing recovery efforts.
Based on the analysis in this report, the following are some key recommendations that can be highlighted:
- Consider amending the definition of 'recovery' in the Disaster Risk Management Act to encompass not just the restoration of physical and economic infrastructure, but also social, cultural and environmental assets, while being aligned to the principles of sustainable development and 'build back better'.
- Consider including in the Disaster Risk Management Act, a provision requiring that recovery plans: (i) address all aspects of disaster recovery, including economic, environmental, and psychosocial recovery; and (ii) include safeguards for the protection of vulnerable groups.
- Build capacities of local and municipal authorities to adequately prepare and respond to emergencies to avoid complete reliance on central government during the response and early recovery phases and to avoid delays in reaching disaster-affected communities.