Dorian caused almost $100 mil. in damage to health facilities on GB, Abaco

Hurricane Dorian caused almost $100 million in damage to the Ministry of Health’s facilities on Abaco and Grand Bahama, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday.

Sands said the figure encompasses the economic impact of Dorian, including damage to the Rand Memorial Hospital and other clinics on both islands, damage to vehicles and additional money that will have to be paid to staff.

“We have to start over,” he said following a World Mental Health Day conference at the University of The Bahamas.

“We have to reprioritize spending.

“Bear in mind that Abaco and Grand Bahama play a critical role in revenue generation for the revenue of The Bahamas. We now have added expenditure — things that we could not have anticipated. So, yes every single ministry, mine included, will have to reprioritize spending and determine what the priorities are for the next 10 months.”

On Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said that the government is looking to cut 10 percent of each ministry’s budget following the monster Category 5 storm.

Sands added that the government has to identify cost savings, and it is likely that it will have to get additional loans.

Asked how this will affect project initiatives for the ministry, Sands said it’s impossible to give definitive answers in a fluid environment.

“I can give you an idea of where we’re headed, but the actual impact is based on what the real costs are going to be,” he said.

“There are priorities. You have to continue to provide primary care and acute care all over the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. That is the priority. When you now look at previous capital programs, we need to see whether or not those can continue because there are new capital programs that take priority.

“The fact that the Rand has been all but destroyed gives it more of a priority than other capital works that were anticipated throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.”

Last month, Sands indicated that the Rand Memorial Hospital’s repairs are estimated to cost nearly $20 million.

He said the ministry has agreed to repair the Rand and a number of the clinics on Grand Bahama.

This cost is inclusive of equipment and damage to the structure, according to the minister.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis blamed hurricane evacuees, who sought shelter in the Marsh Harbour clinic, for causing up to $2 million in equipment damage.

In light of this, Sands said that the ministry has been in discussion with the University of Miami through its board of trustees chairman and the dean of the Miller School of Medicine.

The school offered to partner with the Marsh Harbour clinic to ensure that all of the damage is remediated.

Sands said the ministry is willing to accept this offer and it is in the process now of completing a memorandum of understanding.

However, he was unable to say exactly when the work will commence.

Hurricane Dorian ripped through large swaths of Abaco and Grand Bahama last month.

Catastrophic modeling and risk management company Karen Clark and Company (KCC) recently estimated that Dorian caused $7 billion worth of damage to The Bahamas.

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