For the government of the Bahamas, the devastating hurricane that struck the Abaco Islands is a national emergency. Around the world it has unleashed a wave of solidarity. But the hurricane also exposes the unequal and dissociated social structure of an archipelago, shaped through the centuries by successive waves of globalisation. Dorian is both a historic shock and a harbinger of the future. In a world of accelerating climate change, the grim videos beamed from the cell phones of people fleeing the floodwaters in Marsh Harbour and Grand Bahama are a trailer for storms to come. And if that footage is alarming, we are reminded that there is something even worse: the blackout that follows the comprehensive destruction of fragile infrastructure. If natural disasters reveal a hierarchy of risk exposure, what comes to the fore in their aftermath is a hierarchy of communication and representation.
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