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Around 250 storm victims remain in shelters

Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said yesterday roughly 250 Hurricane Dorian evacuees remain in shelters on New Providence.

He said the ministry hopes to have all the shelters closed by the start of hurricane season in June.

“Kendall G. L. Isaacs, as of the 15th, has been deactivated,” said Campbell outside the House of Assembly.

“We’re now in the process of trying to restore it back to its original state, so that it can be used for its original intent.

“Persons from there, some left and went on their way. Others were taken to the Poinciana (Inn). I think we have about 67 persons or 30 families at the Poinciana. And the remainder are at the Bahamas Academy. There are [fewer] than 200 persons at Bahamas Academy.”

Asked whether there is an exit strategy, Campbell said they are relying on promised temporary housing on Abaco as well as housing repair programs to help relocate shelter residents to their home islands.

“There is an exit strategy,” he said.

“We are relying on collaborative efforts from the new Ministry of Disaster Preparedness and the preparations that are being made in Abaco and the fact that persons are getting assistance with having their houses repaired.

“We are hoping that in the next three months, that before the new hurricane season, we would be in a position to say that all shelters, including the use of the Poinciana, have ceased, so that we can truly make our final preparations for the next season.”

Hurricane Dorian tore through Abaco and Grand Bahama nearly six months ago, leaving at least 70 dead and thousands displaced and homeless.

Hundreds of evacuees lived in several temporary shelters on New Providence in the aftermath of the storm.

The numbers at the shelters have gradually decreased. However, people on the ground in the storm-ravaged areas of Abaco and Grand Bahama have expressed concern that the affected communities are still not sufficiently cleaned up for former residents to move back.

According to Disaster Reconstruction Authority Chairman John Michael Clarke, domes in Spring City, Abaco, to provide temporary housing for Dorian evacuees, will be completed today.

The government’s Small Home Repair Programme was also launched earlier this month.

Under the program, residents whose homes were destroyed will be eligible to receive $10,000 in vouchers. Those with major damage will receive $7,500 in vouchers.

Homeowners whose homes suffered medium damage will be eligible for $5,000 in vouchers and those whose homes sustained only minimal damage will be eligible for $2,500 in vouchers.

The program also stipulates that only homes that were uninsured will be eligible and that only Bahamian homeowners who can provide proof of residence on August 31, 2019, can qualify for the program.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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