14 September 2019

Opening remarks at press encounter after Secretary-General’s visit to Abaco Island, Bahamas

António Guterres

I just came back from Abaco. I must say was horrified. I've never seen such a level of systematic devastation. Hurricane Dorian has been classified as category five. I think it's category hell. But it was not powered by the devil. We have always had many hurricanes, but now they are more intense, and they are more frequent, and they are powered by climate change. And so it's very important that international community learns two things from the example of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
First, is that we need to stop climate change. We need to make sure that we reverse the present trend where climate change is running faster than what we are. And second, that countries like the Bahamas that do not contribute to climate change, but are in the first line of the devastating impacts of climate change, deserve international support, to be able to fully respond to the humanitarian emergency but also for the reconstruction and the building of resilience of their communities and their islands.
There has been a fantastic mobilization of the Bahamas government, the Bahamian people, of the international community, several countries, several non-governmental organizations, international agencies. They are doing with enormous generosity, a very important job in supporting the populations affected. But these will require a large investment and the Bahamas deserves the support of international community to be able to fully cope with this challenge and to be able to fully recover from it.