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Cargill: DRA spent $23 mil. on Abaco so far

Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Deputy Chairman Algernon Cargill said yesterday that the authority has so far spent over $23 million on debris cleanup and home repairs on Abaco in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“In terms of the DRA, or what the government has done through NEMA as far as the Disaster Recovery Authority, we have removed 3.2 million cubic yards of debris post-Dorian from Green Turtle Cay, Spring City, Treasure Cay, and Elbow Cay debris management sites,” he said during the Abaco Business Outlook.

“That has been a mammoth undertaking and the DRA continues to manage these disaster sites here in the Abacos.”

Cargill said it is paramount that the debris is removed before another storm impacts the island. 

“We have to look at ways now to monetize this debris and remove it from the Abacos,” he said.

“Of course, if there is another storm, this debris would scatter everywhere. So, the government would have spent through the DRA almost $10 million in debris management in the Abacos and another $7.3 million in community cleanup. So, quite a lot of money has been spent trying to get Abaco back to normal post-Dorian.”

Cargill said nearly $6 million has been spent in the Abacos so far on the DRA’s Small Home Repair Programme, an initiative to provide vouchers for reconstruction to people whose homes were damaged in Dorian.

“Altogether the DRA has approved 1,216 homeowners for repairs in Abaco and the cays,” Cargill said.

“They have spent on home repairs … $5.8 million so far and an additional $2.04 million is to be spent. So, quite a lot of money has been spent investing into the Abaco economy and getting persons back to normalcy as close to possible as they were before Dorian.”

Dorian, one of the most powerful hurricanes on record in the Atlantic, barreled through the Abacos in September 2019, leaving destruction in its wake.

At least 70 people died in the storm and hundreds are still missing. Thousands of Abaconians were left homeless and displaced.

Cargill noted yesterday that outside of the DRA, significant sums of money have been pumped into Abaco’s restoration.

He said that efforts to connect homeowners to the electricity supply are still underway.

“Bahamas Power and Light (BPL) spent $62 million on restoration efforts on Abaco since Dorian and approximately 64 percent of the customers have been reconnected,” he said.

“I am advised that the customers that were not reconnected are mostly the homeowners who have not returned or persons who have not yet have the certificates from the Ministry of Works that their buildings are now safe to resume power, but nonetheless, a mammoth undertaking has been completed.”

BPL Chief Operating Officer Ian Pratt said yesterday that it could take 20 more months for the connection numbers on Abaco to reach pre-Dorian levels, as he noted that many consumers have not returned and people are still in various stages of reconstruction.

“We are reconnecting about 152 customers on average per month, that’s over the last six months,” Pratt said.

“If it stayed on that pace, it would take us about 20 months to get back to pre-Dorian levels, but we suspect that there will be some surges inside this number at some points that should shorten that time.”

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Rachel Scott

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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