Bahamas will work to reduce impact of climate change but needs help - PM


NASSAU, Feb 24 (Reuters) - The Bahamas is on the "front lines" of the catastrophic effects of climate change and is trying to mitigate these but it needs more help from rich nations, Prime Minister Philip Davis said in an interview on Wednesday.

"Within 15 to 20 years, what we now believe to be unusual, for example, category 5 hurricane events, may become the usual," Davis said. "Such occurrences will have grave implications for the way we live."

The archipelago nation northeast of Cuba suffered $3.4 billion in damage - nearly 25% of GDP - from the 2019 Category 5 Hurricane Dorian. Experts say further climate shifts may cause more droughts, brush fires, and high-intensity hurricanes.

The Bahamas is helping to develop web-based tools to monitor the impact of changing sea levels and is revising building codes in preparation for more intense weather, Davis said.

"The Bahamas is not a major contributor to anthropogenic climate change; however, we are at the front lines of its catastrophic impacts."

"Our country will not be able to manage the impacts of climate change without significant collaboration and assistance from global partners."

Davis said his administration is working on a climate change plan to be released in the coming months that will begin with raising awareness about climate change within The Bahamas.

Hurricane Dorian pummeled the Grand Bahama and Abaco islands with heavy winds and storm surges, killing dozens of people and damaging the homes and property of some 30,000 residents, according to a 2019 Inter-American Development Bank report.

The impact was exacerbated by "inadequate construction and infrastructure located in vulnerable areas," the report said.

Davis in November said that 15% of The Bahamas' GDP is threatened by climate change and that 11% of Bahamians are threatened by rising sea levels.

Reporting by Jasper Ward, writing by Brian Ellsworth, editing by Alexandra Hudson

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