Saturday, December 1, 2007

Climate change and disaster preparedness main area of concerns for the Bahamas at Commonwealth summit

Caribbeannetnews: Climate change and disaster preparedness were the main issues discussed at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting that directly affects small island states like The Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said. “We must now give greater focus to disaster preparedness, the ability of ourselves across communities to have access to basic essential things like water and/or electrical power in the event of a major disaster.

“We live in a low lying set of islands,” Ingraham said. “We have to give major attention to a major city like Nassau in the event of a hurricane coming from the south and flood waters rising perhaps as far north as Carmichael Road and Soldier Road.” At a press conference on Wednesday, upon his return from the CHOGM in Uganda, said there has to be “safe places” where persons can flee to during a major disaster.

He added that plans also have to be implemented to ensure communities in the Family Islands are not cut off and isolated. He noted Phillip Weech, a Bahamian serving at the Climate Change Secretariat in Germany, is returning and will be involved and engaged in The Bahamas’ preparation for climate change and enhanced environmental thrust. Ingraham said Mr. Weech will also be attending the United Nations Climate Change conference in Bali, Indonesia, beginning December 3, and Minister of Public Works and Transport Earl Deveaux will be representing the government at the conference.

He said The Bahamas must give consideration to a new energy policy in The Bahamas and find ways to augment power supply by using alternate sources of energy. “The cost of energy is very high for many persons today,” he said. “We have to also have low voltage electrical bulbs available and government incentives to encourage people to be able to afford alternate appliances, so that they end up using less electricity. So, conservation has to be a major part of the exercise.”

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