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For some, exigency order offers no hope

Some residents impacted by recent flooding said yesterday they did not expect to benefit from duty exemptions because they cannot afford to replace anything.

Some low-lying communities throughout New Providence were hard hit by torrential rains, which caused severe flooding on May 22.

On Wednesday, the government tabled an exigency order in the House of Assembly that will provide duty exemptions for flood victims.

Their claims must be certified by the director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said.

Wade Riley, a Soldier Road resident, said the duty exemptions would be of little consequence because he simply cannot afford the cost of raw materials and other items.

“If I had the money, why not, but unfortunately I just have to wait until things get better,” Riley said.

His television and bedroom set were among the items destroyed.

Donald Lloyd, another resident on that street, said he made several attempts to contact NEMA without success.

Lloyd lost his fridge, stove and most of his furniture to flooding.

He also said NEMA representatives had not yet visited.

“I will leave that up to the representative (Nassau Village MP Dion Smith) now,” he said. “He was supposed to contact them and contact me back.”

Another resident, who identified himself as Mr. Johnson, said he was forced to sleep in his truck for days after his one-storey apartment was flooded with several feet of water last week.

He too claimed NEMA was a no-show.

“I am so fed up with washing and cleaning, my mind is confused right now,” Johnson said.

“Then the rain came this week [and] made it worse. I had to eat food from my mother the whole of last week because I am not working.”

Asked whether he will take advantage of the exigency order, Johnson said, “I will have to see because right now I am hurting.”

Many of the residents interviewed by The Nassau Guardian said they hoped the government recognized that many people are suffering, especially those who are unemployed.

Queen’s Road resident, Jason Meadows, said he felt NEMA officials focused more attention on Pinewood Gardens, and ignored other impacted areas.

“I was hoping someone would come around long before now, so they could really see what we are going through, and this is the second time,” he said.

Meadows said both family cars were submerged in water last week.

That, coupled with several leaks in his roof, lifted floor tiles and waterlogged furniture, will cost him between $30,000 and $40,000 in repairs, he estimated.

NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell, who was contacted for comment, acknowledged that teams had not yet assessed Soldier Road and other impacted areas of eastern New Providence.

“Assessments will most certainly continue tomorrow (Friday) if weather permits,” Russell said. He did not provide a timeline for area assessments.

Kevin Johnson, 44, said, “The Soldier Road [area] residents feel left out, especially in Redland Acres, Goggle Eye Road, Sumner Street and Windsor Place.

“They are talking about Pinewood and Nassau Village, but people around here got flooded too.”

NEMA said in a statement that verification of damage and request forms could be collected at the Churchill Building downtown; Epiphany Anglican Church, Prince Charles Drive and several eastern and central division police stations and Urban Renewal centers on New Providence.

The order has a 90-day timeframe that started on May 28.

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