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Disaster Reconstruction Authority, NGOs team to assist Abaco homeowners

CENTRAL PINES – The Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority is collaborating with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to assist hundreds of homeowners in central Abaco with repairs.

At a town hall meeting Friday night at Friendship Tabernacle Church, Central Pines, Abaco, Abaco Rescue Fund announced its commitment to providing building supplies to area residents.

“After the storm we were heartbroken to see what had happened to The Bahamas,” said Davis Warren of Abaco Rescue Fund.

“And we were in a position to help and we’re just happy we were able to.”

Core, an NGO founded by actor Sean Penn, in partnership with the American Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will assist with repairing 330 homes in the area. There will be a maximum spend per home of $10,000 covering materials and labor costs.

The authority has partnered with various NGOs in Dorian-impacted communities. Through the partnerships, the government pays for labor and the NGOs provide supplies and various types of logistical and technical assistance.

Katherine Forbes-Smith, authority managing director, urged residents seeking work to sign up with a representative of her office who was present at the meeting.

“Because what we want to do is we want to exhaust every able-bodied man and woman in Abaco to make sure that they can work while we do this reconstruction and rebuilding of Abaco,” she said.

“It is only when we’ve exhausted the labor locally that we need to look outside in other parts of The Bahamas and perhaps even internationally because there are a number of persons, NGOs, who want to come in and donate their time.”

Forbes-Smith also explained to residents the government’s Homes Repair Programme for structures damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Dorian.

The program is scheduled to begin the first week of February. Residents will be able to use vouchers to purchase building materials and other items related to home restoration.

There will be four categories for which vouchers will be granted. Residents whose homes were assessed with minimal damage will be eligible for $2,500 in vouchers; those with medium damage will be eligible for $5,000 in vouchers; those with major damage will be eligible for $7,500 in vouchers; and those whose homes were destroyed will be eligible for $10,000 in vouchers.

In recent weeks the authority has hosted a series of town hall meetings in conjunction with area local government from central to North Abaco. Additional town halls will take place in communities affected by Hurricane Dorian in the coming weeks.

The meetings are intended to inform residents of ongoing recovery work and to hear their concerns as to what needs to be addressed in their communities.

 

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