Natural Disasters

Hurricanes are the natural disasters that have affected Bonaire the most in history. There have even been hurricanes that have caused fatalities. The hurricanes and the dreaded southwester have also caused a lot of property damage. But other forms of natural disasters such as tsunamis and earthquakes are also possible.

Oral History
Bonaire's elders remember Hazel and Janet as the most severe hurricanes that passed over or past the island. Indeed, Hazel (1954) and Janet (1955) caused a great deal of consternation and also damage. A system with heavy rain showers, thunder and lightning, which passed a few days after Hazel, even cost a human life, namely that of Ricardo Winklar, father of the famous singer Nemensio Winklar, in the evening of October 19, 1954. He burned to death in the Ser'i Bentana lighthouse on plantation Washington at the time a fire broke out after lightning struck the tower.
But Janet, Hazel, Joan, Bret, Omar, Ivan, Thomas, Lenny and other hurricanes were nothing compared to a hurricane that swept across the island in 1877 and claimed 21 lives. The majority of these people were on board the ships that were in Kralendijk Bay at the time.

As part of a study conducted in 2018, under the auspices of UNESCO, several people who experienced the disasters including farmers and fishermen were interviewed. Interviews were also conducted on various natural phenomena, rituals and signs and spoke to the agencies responsible for disaster management such as the government, harbor master, hospital and others. This documentary has a length of almost three hours. The abridged version with subtitles in English can be seen here.