Disaster Reconstruction Authority pushes back at domes ‘fake news’

The Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) hit out against “fake news” as it defended the cost of temporary domes that are being built for Hurricane Dorian survivors on Abaco.

Last week, social media posts were circulated which alleged that the domes for government’s Family Relief Center cost $900 each.

The DRA shot that down on Saturday, criticizing the post as “irresponsible”.

“On Friday, January 24, 2020, a fake news story circulated on social media stating that the real cost of the domes is $900 per unit. This fake news post suggested the authority overspent or misinformed the public on the real dome cost,” the release said.

“This social media post is false and extremely misleading. The cheap domes for $900 referred to in the fake news social media post are of significantly lower quality than the domes purchased by the authority.

“It is unclear if the cheap domes were tested for quality at international standards. It is also unclear what materials were used in their construction.

“It is irresponsible of anyone to suggest the authority should purchase cheap, untested domes that cannot stand up to the conditions in our country.”

The release went on to state: “The authority has budgeted $6.4 million for the domes. An estimated $4 million has been committed to cost. This $4 million cost includes the purchase of 250 domes; the preparation of the land for the domes; the purchase of equipment related to the installation; the installation of infrastructure for the domes; and operation of the family relief centre.

“The InterShelter domes the Authority purchased have been structurally and field tested – the field testing being over 30 years. The domes are designed to withstand hurricane-force winds of 200-plus miles per hour. The domes have been used around the world and by the U.S. Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force. The domes are reusable after the their initial use.”

The DRA has said that once the domes are available for occupation, government will not charge Abaconians for using them.

The Family Relief Center was initially projected to be completed by December, however Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis earlier this month said there is no deadline in place for the completion of the dome city.

Lewis also said that the cost of the dome city constituted the majority of around $7 million in donations for Hurricane Dorian relief efforts which the government had spent as of January 13.

The cost of the domes has come under fire recently, with some Abaco residents calling it a “waste of money” while leader of the opposition Philip Brave Davis accused the government of not moving quickly enough on getting the Family Relief Center up and running.

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