The government has begun the process of deactivating some of the shelters for hurricane victims across New Providence, Deputy Director of Social Services Kim Sawyer said yesterday.
Sawyer said that there are currently 895 Hurricane Dorian evacuees still residing in shelters on the island.
“The shelters in Grand Bahama and Abaco were deactivated,” she said at a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) press conference.
“On October 9, the All Saints shelter was deactivated, and those persons from the All Saints were moved to the Kendall Isaacs Gymnasium.
“Today, we will deactivate the Fox Hill shelter, and there are 120 persons in that shelter, and they will be moved to the Kendall Isaacs Gymnasium.
“Tomorrow, which is October 11, we will deactivate the shelter at the Pilgrim Baptist Church and those 47 persons will be moved to the Kendall Isaacs Gymnasium.
“To date, we have 310 persons in the main gym and 58 in Tent A and 62 in Tent B, and we will consolidate those and move those into the gym to accommodate persons who are being moved from the other shelters.”
NEMA Public Information Officer Lindsay Thompson said there was a significant decrease in the number of people staying at the shelter when authorities realized some people were lending their bands to other people.
“We were finding that during the day the numbers were higher than at night,” she said.
“And we found that at night there were beds that were not occupied. So, we removed the beds, did a clean sweep of the shelter and re-banded everyone this weekend, and then we counted again, and so that is one of the reasons why we would have had a significant difference in the numbers.”
Asked how the issue will be prevented going forward, Thompson said, “We are hoping that we can police it a little better, and periodically, we don’t give any notice, but we periodically change the color of the bands.”
Hurricane Dorian swept across Abaco and Grand Bahama nearly six weeks ago, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake. Thousands were displaced, and at least 61 are dead.