October 10, 2019
The Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction is in the process of deploying temporary housing for government employees on Abaco, Prime Minister the Most Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis announced in the House of Assembly on Wednesday in his second communication on Hurricane Dorian response and recovery efforts.
The Prime Minister said 100 RV trailers will accommodate 300 critical government personnel, who will play an essential role in reconstruction and recovery. A protocol is being determined for the relocation of individuals back to Abaco.
A land site next to the Spring City subdivision on Abaco is also being prepared to create the Family Relief Centre, which will serve as temporary housing accommodations for families affected by Hurricane Dorian.
The Family Relief Centre will comprise 250 dome structures that will include plumbing, drainage, a sewer system and electricity. Each dome can accommodate four to five people. The estimated cost for this facility is $6.4 million.
Land is being prepared and trenching will begin this week. Materials for the infrastructure work are scheduled to arrive on Abaco next week, said Prime Minister Minnis.
“The response to Hurricane Dorian is a comprehensive and global effort led and coordinated by the Government of The Bahamas,” said the Prime Minister. “The full resources of the Government are being deployed.”
Another essential part of the recovery and rebuilding effort is the relocation of schoolchildren, teachers and other education personnel, said Prime Minister Minnis.
So far approximately 1,400 students have been registered and the Ministry of Education is in the process of tracking down the balance of the 2,500 students who were registered at schools in Abaco before Dorian struck The Bahamas.
Some of these students are in other Family Islands, reported the Prime Minister. Some are in private schools. Some went directly to government-operated schools in New Providence, and did not come through the Thomas A. Robinson Stadium for registration as requested.
Approximately 300 students remained in Abaco, not all of whom are in schools, and some students have traveled to the United States.
“We know also that 50 students are at schools in Andros, and that more than 150 are being accommodated on Eleuthera,” said Prime Minister Minnis.
“Tragically, it is also likely that there are some school children among the persons still not accounted for in Abaco.”
In East Grand Bahama, four schools sustained significant damage, and will require extensive repairs, which will require an extensive amount of time. There was also major damage in Central Abaco.
There were some schools which sustained substantial damage but have since been repaired enough to accommodate students and have been brought up to standard to receive students for classes for half of the school day, said the Prime Minister.
Five schools in northern and southern Abaco are open but are operating on reduced hours as a result of self-help efforts from teachers and community members.
Counselling sessions, led by staff of the Employee Assistance Programme, in conjunction with the Bahamas Psychological Services were also carried out, the Prime Minister reported.
The Ministry of Education is awaiting advice from the Ministry of Works on the Scopes of Work and costings submitted by Education for the 16 schools needed to be repaired on Grand Bahama.
The estimation thus far is the Ministry of Education’s Hurricane Dorian relief budget will come in at approximately $20 million.