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CZMU looking at high risk zones
High risk zones along this nation’s shorelines are being identified through the Coastal Zone Management Unit’s Coastal Risk Assessment and Management Programme.
“We are looking to mainstream disaster risk reduction with change adaptation with that recently started project, (by) looking to further identify those zones so we know which ones can be evacuated if a storm event occurs,” stated Coastal Planner Fabian Hinds.
He said that this also included determining slope and cliff stability, “so we are really trying to have a comprehensive review and assessment of all the disaster and risk sites where Barbados is concerned.”
Pointing to the vulnerabilities of coastal areas, he said the unit was working to ensure that new and existing developments were not made more vulnerable to coastal hazards, through setting structures above the high water marks and away from cliff edges.
He stressed that development, particularly on south and west coast, should be at least 100 feet above the high water mark to ensure that in the case of a storm surge, waves had more ground to cover to be able to do any damage.
“When you ensure that minimal damage occurs, the recovery for businesses and homes is much shorter and hence life can continue as usual much quicker after disaster,” he stressed.
In addition, he urged the public to encourage the growth of coastal vegetation as this bound the sand together providing a natural barrier against storm surges.
Hinds admitted that at times it was difficult to ensure all buildings were placed above the high water mark, as many structures, particularly on the west coast, had existed long before the present planning policies, but nevertheless emphasised that in the case of new development, those buildings were placed above that recommended level.