100 domes for storm victims still not erected

Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Managing Director Katherine Forbes-Smith said yesterday that more than 100 temporary housing structures are still waiting to be erected on Abaco and Grand Bahama more than a year after Hurricane Dorian devastated the two islands.

“Forty domes are sitting in Grand Bahama for erection in East Grand Bahama and we still have 20 temporary houses — that were donated by one of the foundations — that have to be erected,” Forbes-Smith said.

“So, we have a total of 60 temporary homes that need to go up — 20 in Sweeting’s Cay and 40 in East Grand Bahama. So, you got about 60 domes left for Abaco and the cays.”

DRA Project Manager Wendell Grant said each dome costs just under $10,000 to erect.

He said there are currently 200 domes in-country. 

When asked what was the hold up with the erection of the remaining structures, Grant told The Nassau Guardian, “There’s a number of things that are holding up: some of it is material, some of it is contracting, some of it is cost.”

In the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the establishment of temporary housing, which are dome-like structures, that was expected to cost about $6.4 million.

He said the government planned to set up 250 domes on Abaco in a “tent city”. 

However, Forbes-Smith said the government is no longer moving forward with its plans for a tent city.

“I think that whole discussion of a dome city and tent city was discussed in the early days after Hurricane Dorian,” she said.

“That is not where we are at the moment. What we did is we erected some domes in Spring City, as you know, because there were so many homes that were destroyed in the area. Those domes are up, people are in them and, as Wendell indicated, there are 100 domes that have been erected and there’s about 100 more to go.

“What I want you to understand is we are in a different point in our process at the moment. The domes were really regarded as temporary housing for a short period of time, but due to COVID, due to resources, the domes were not erected in a timely manner as we would’ve anticipated.”

Forbes-Smith said individuals are still interested in the domes.

She said residents are finding it “very challenging to start and complete their homes, their permanent housing in a short space of time”.

“A lot of people are either unemployed or they don’t have anywhere to live in Abaco so that they can begin construction on their homes,” Forbes-Smith said.

“For many people, these domes are almost a longer-term housing solution for them until they are able to construct their homes.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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