Natural Hazard Risk
Grenada is exposed to several natural hazards such as coastal floods, hurricanes, earthquakes, extreme heat, landslides, and tsunamis. The country is characterized by its mountainous terrain, with only 3 percent of Grenada’s land area located at sea level. Main towns and key socio-economic facilities are built along the coast, making Grenada particularly vulnerable to hurricanes and tropical storms.
Hurricanes pose one of the most significant risks to the country. Annual average loss (AAL) from hurricanes is $8.2 million (0.9% of GDP) and probable maximum loss from hurricanes (250 year return period) is $397 million (42.6% of GDP). Significantly, in September 2004, Hurricane Ivan struck the coast of Grenada, resulting in an estimated $800 million in losses. Deaths attributed to the storm were roughly 30 people, while infrastructure damages and agricultural losses were estimated at twice of Grenada’s GDP for 2004. While still recovering from Hurricane Ivan, another Hurricane Emily hit the country in July 2005, causing an estimated economic impact of about $110 million.
Climate models have predicted Grenada will experience a warming and drying trend in the future and more frequent heat waves, droughts, and rainfalls with increased intensity. The average annual temperature is projected to increase up to 0.7 – 2.6 degrees Centigrade by 2060s.
The Government of Grenada has taken steps to strengthen the country’s disaster risk management (DRM) and develop strategies to promote resilient planning. In 1985, the government established the National Disaster Management Agency (NaDMA) to coordinate disaster-related activities on all three islands of Grenada. Under the supervision of the Office of the Prime Minister, the department’s mission is to reduce the loss of life and infrastructure by ensuring adequate preparedness, response, and mitigation measures are in place to deal with the impact of natural hazards.
Following Hurricanes Ivan and Emily in 2004 and 2005, the government introduced its National Disaster Plan to help the country recover from, and prepare for, disasters in the future. The NDP is a disaster response organization that involves key stakeholders, including government departments, local communities, and private sector. Its goal is to mobilize resources to manage various aspects of a disaster and stabilize the country as quickly as possible.
To further advance Grenada DRM and climate resilience agenda, government priorities include:
- Establishing a program for emergency and disaster response to ensure effective resource applications in the event of an emergency;
- Improving institutional capacity to plan and respond to natural hazards; and,
- Increasing the understanding of natural hazard and climate change risk.
GFDRR has supported DRM efforts in Grenada at a regional and country level since 2008. Key activities have focused on risk reduction, disaster risk financing strategies, and improving resilient infrastructure.
In 2010, GFDRR supported a regional project to help Eastern Caribbean states (ECS) enhance resilience of public infrastructure to climate change. Technical assistance by GFDRR supported ECSs to understand the specific vulnerability of sectors and geographical areas and determine levels of appropriate risks. In addition, an analysis of expected damages and losses in a structural vulnerability assessment was conducted to estimate financing of selected buildings. Ultimately, the grant helped in the preparation of a $26.2 million public infrastructure investment project by the World Bank in Grenada.
Since 2015, through the African Caribbean Pacific-European Union Natural Disaster Risk Reduction (ACP-EU NDRR) Program, the Grenada Disaster Risk Financing technical assistance program has supported the government of Grenada in building technical and institutional capacity in disaster risk financing. The technical assistance supports the Ministry of Finance to establish an integrated disaster risk financing framework for improving Grenada’s financial resilience to natural disasters. This framework assesses fiscal exposure of the country in the event of a natural disaster and facilitated the integration of disaster risk into national fiscal and debt management. Improved understanding of risk is expected to not only enable the government to minimize contingent liabilities but also decrease post-disaster reliance on international aid.
Going forward, GFDRR anticipates demand in the following areas:
- Improving Grenada’s infrastructure management and maintenance capabilities;
- Establishing a broad disaster risk financing strategy;
- Increasing risk information to be included in future development planning; and,
- Increasing institutional capacity and access to improved technical assistance for disaster resilience.