The government is tasked with removing roughly 1.5 billion pounds of debris in Marsh Harbour, Abaco, in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, Minister of the Environment and Housing Romauld Ferreira said yesterday.
“We’re formulating our debris management plan,” Ferriera told reporters outside Cabinet.
“We’ve done satellite imagery. We’ve done drone footage. We estimate that it’s going to be about two million cubic meters of debris generated in Abaco; well, Marsh Harbour. That equates to about 1.5 billion pounds of debris so we’re identifying potential laydown sites where we can place these items.
“Our real plan, a key feature of the plan, is we hope to actually take these items out of the country.”
Ferriera said the large amount of debris would “overwhelm” the landfill system in Marsh Harbour.
The minister said he was unable to say how much the debris removal effort would cost.
However, when pressed, he said, “I don’t have the final number on how much it is going to cost.
“I am not going to speculate on that, but I will tell you as we don’t know the amount, but it’s going to be tens of millions of dollars.”
Ferriera said the government will need additional manpower to deal with the debris removal.
He said the debris management plan calls for “a certain type of expertise”.
“Remember that the entities receiving [the debris], they want it sorted in such a way and that calls for manpower, that calls for expertise, that calls for planning, that calls for aerial footage – the whole nine yards,” Ferriera said.
“One of the reasons that we can’t estimate or we’ve been unable or challenged in terms of estimating debris volumes in Grand Bahama is that a lot of the damage that happened to the homes in Grand Bahama happened internally. So, people lost…they basically have a house but the sheetrock is all damaged.
“The appliances are all damaged. It’s a different kind of feature so we’re really going to have to develop two separate responses for how we deal with the damage and debris generated from that.”
Ferriera said the Department of Environmental Health will handle the removal of the debris.
However, the government will “call on expertise” from other countries.
“We had expertise in developing or for me to give you that number of two million cubic meters, that came from experts working with us from the United Nations Development Program,” he said.
“The international partners are here. They’re here to assist and we’re taking full advantage of the expertise that they have.”