Tuesday, Nov 19, 2019
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Jackson Lee: United States stands ready to assist further after Dorian

U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee addresses the media outside Lynden Pindling International Airport yesterday, following a tour of the devastation on Abaco due to Hurricane Dorian.

The United States is willing and able to provide more assistance for recovery in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, U.S. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee said at a press conference after touring hurricane-ravaged Abaco.

Jackson Lee said she will inform her fellow members of the U.S. House of Representatives that the U.S. should stand ready to provide technical assistance in healthcare, debris removal, the environment and housing. 

Jackson Lee has already attended a congressional oversight meeting about how the U.S. can assist on Abaco and Grand Bahama which was also impacted by the storm.

She yesterday visited Abaco to look at how the recovery process was going.

“Certainly, housing is clearly one of the most important [needs], making sure that power is restored and the government has a plan for that,” she said at a press conference at Lynden Pindling International Airport.  

“We expect, according to their report, to have the power entities working into next week or beginning next week to begin with that power restoration.”

She spent the day with U.S. Embassy Charge D’affaires Stephanie Bowers and representatives from USAID assessing those needs in the aftermath of the storm, specifically on Abaco.

“One thing I would like to say is that the people here are resilient. It is evident that a lot of work is taking place,” she said. 

“…I believe that the leadership here, the government, has a real effort going forward to look at these issues and to provide for the residents of the islands impacted like in Grand Bahama and Abaco. We want to be of assistance in those islands.”

While on Abaco, Jackson Lee said she had briefings with the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the restoration team on Abaco.

She added that she understands residents eventually want to return. 

“We know that part of the effort is to kind of re-establish commerce and tourism, but we want to focus most of all on getting people back in their homes,” she said. 

“…We know that we will be listening to the government for its determination as to what more the United States can do as an ally and a friend to help [with] this restoration.”

She said what she witnessed yesterday was a “constant, methodic effort” for affected residents to restore their lives. 

Since the hurricane left, the country has received an outpouring of donations from the international community. 

Countries like the United States, Japan and China have donated hundreds of thousands of dollars. 

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said last week that the government will tap into its $100 million loan facility from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to assist with restoring public utilities and setting up temporary shelters on both islands.

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