Op-Ed: Hurricane Ian and the coming climate crash
Hurricane Ian has killed almost 300 people in the Caribbean and is inching closer to the US mainland. This is the story of how people were fighting to survive and how climate change is changing our lives.
There’s one phrase that has been used to describe Ian repeatedly since it hit the Caribbean last week.
A lot of people who have never lived in the area have the word ‘exotic’ stuck in their heads. The combination of the heat and the humidity has made the Bahamas the country with the highest number of deaths from tropical storms.
For many of those who do live there, the word exotic has something more sinister attached.
Is Ian an event in the climate crisis?
Ian is the worst hurricane to hit the islands since records began in 1690, and the worst on record for the Bahamas, according to the National Hurricane Centre.
It’s almost inconceivable to imagine that such a powerful storm could hit the islands, particularly during the peak of tourist season – but, in fact, it did.
Hurricane Igor hit the BVI on October 21, 2014, which made it more than four centuries since a storm has hit the islands. The death toll from Ian was almost twice that, with some reports putting the death toll as high as 400.
As with Igor, the islands are preparing for the storm. This time, unlike Igor, the BVI is expected to receive more than 30 inches of rain.
But before those preparations began, the Bahamas are preparing. The country has a long history of responding to natural disasters and for Hurricane Ivan, its government set aside a huge amount of money to rebuild. It’s also setting up systems to predict and prepare for future storms.
But not everyone is convinced that the government is doing enough, and they’re not the only ones to question the government’s preparedness.