St. Vincent & Grenadines

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: HURRICANE TOMAS EMERGENCY RECOVERY LOAN PROJECT

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I. Country Context

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) is a multi-island state exposed to a range of natural hazards such as hurricanes, storm surges, floods, landslides, volcanoes and coastal erosion with hazards stemming from weather related phenomena such as winds, rainfall, hurricane and drought representing the most significant risk. The islands experience an annual hurricane season from June to November, followed by a rainy season from November to January.

Historical data from the Eastern Caribbean sub-region indicates the regional probability of a hurricane in any given year is about 18 percent. It is widely acknowledged that natural events like hurricanes have the potential to cause major economic damage (an exogenous shock) - resulting in significant unforeseen public expenditures. For example, while not a direct hit, damages to SVG caused by Hurricane Ivan in 2004 were estimated at US $40 million or approximately 10 percent of GDP. This was compounded by GDP losses incurred in subsequent years owing to reduced agricultural productivity and impacts to the tourism sector.