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COVID-19 slowing post-storm rebuilding

Minister of State for Disaster Reconstruction Iram Lewis said yesterday the COVID-19 pandemic will slow down post-Hurricane Dorian reconstruction efforts on Abaco and Grand Bahama.

“It’s slowing down everything,” Lewis told The Nassau Guardian.

“We have to be more careful than ever now. However, we realize that the economy must continue to turn, so we have made provisions for reconstruction to continue. The hardware companies, the ones supplying, the ones doing construction, are allowed to be opened, so home repair is ongoing.

“Of course, you know, it will slow it down because you won’t be allowed the large numbers of contractors or the large construction companies to work where team members will be congregating in violation of the order.”

He said reconstruction efforts will “go back into full throttle as soon as the restrictions are lifted”.

“Of course, as I said, we have limited services ongoing in the country but essential services are continuing,” Lewis said.

“Hurricane season is coming up, so we have a lot of homes that were damaged with the roofs, so we have to get those, if only, done to ensure that homes are dry and they are safe.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis imposed a 24-hour national curfew and ordered the temporary suspension of most business operations across The Bahamas.

It expires on March 31.

Construction companies — carrying out Dorian relief reconstruction and restoration efforts on Abaco, Grand Bahama and their respective cays — are exempted from that order.

The Category 5 storm — the strongest recorded in Bahamian history — hit Abaco and Grand Bahama in September, causing $3.4 billion in damage and losses.

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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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