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Govt needs over 1,500 to help clean up Abaco, GB

A recent Hurricane Dorian Debris Management Plan (DMP) by the Ministry of the Environment and Housing estimated that it needs over 1,500 individuals to tackle cleanup efforts on Abaco and Grand Bahama.

The November 12 report indicated that Abaco requires 365 debris crew personnel, 214 debris segregation personnel and 60 debris monitors.

On Grand Bahama, 107 debris monitors are required along with 400 debris segregation personnel and 680 debris crew personnel.

Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm, decimated portions of Abaco, Grand Bahama and the surrounding cays in early September.

“Given the scale of this mission, the affected islands do not have enough currently qualified personnel to perform the project,” the report said.

“Government should consider an experienced debris contractor with a record of hiring and training local personnel in positions such as equipment operators, quality control managers, safety officers, mechanics, project superintendents and many others.

“The goal is to hire residents to inject dollars back into the local economy while training them for future reconstruction projects and disaster resiliency.”

The 62-page plan also said that the Central Abaco district is separated into 16 zones, each of which will require crew members.

It  said, “This methodology allows the department to exert greater project control, allocate resources efficiently, collect and display debris data, effectively manage quality control measures, ensure adherence with project specifications and communicate with the public regarding [the] collection dates.”

Job opportunities for local residents include debris monitor, debris segregation crew member, equipment operator, foreman and quality control manager.

The report added that Bahamian small businesses can participate in debris hauling, specialty debris removal and haul out of residual debris.

By providing these various work opportunities, it said that the debris mission can “help inject vital dollars to the local economy”.

Based on debris quantities derived from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers hurricane debris estimating model and the 2010 Bahamian Census data, the DMP estimated 1,097,969.34 cubic yards of debris on Abaco and 2,069,810.60 on Grand Bahama.

The Department has also established the operational timeline for each phase of work and total debris mission duration of 180 days.

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