Govt received $9 mil. in donations, spent $7 mil.

Government has received around $9 million in donations to Hurricane Dorian relief efforts, and spent around $7 million of those funds to date, according to Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis.

Lewis made the comments to an audience of private and public sector parties, government officials, media and other potential donors during a UNDP-sponsored aid conference at Baha Mar yesterday.

The conference was intended to raise money for recovery and reconstruction following the Category 5 storm that devastated Grand Bahama and Abaco last September.

“I can say that, to date, we’ve received some $9 million that was pledged,” Lewis said.

“So far, in terms of expenditure, we’ve expended some $7 million, the majority of which was purchased of domes for the Family Relief Center. And that’s in the neighborhood of $4.6 million and that includes the shipping and the installation and the relevant utilities.

“Another area where a substantial amount of funds was expended was on the RVs (recreational vehicles) to allow government services to get back up and running. And also the related utility connection within the neighborhood of some $240,000 plus.”

He added, “And another area that we spent money was the shelter – Kendal G. L. Isaacs Gymnasium. We spent some $250,000 for the tent there as well as $17,500 on a backup generator.”

A project to set up temporary housing on Abaco in the form of dome structures, called the Family Relief Center, was originally announced in October, along with about 100 RV trailers, which were to be provided for government workers on Abaco.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the project was to encompass “250 dome structures that will include plumbing, drainage, a sewer system and electricity” near the Spring City subdivision. It was projected to cost $6.4 million.

Lewis told The Nassau Guardian last week that there is presently no deadline for when the domes will be completed.

Meanwhile, Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell said that shelters such as the Kendal G. L. Isaacs Gymnasium have no deadline for closing.

He said while the number of residents relying on them continues to decrease, the ministry is “obliged to provide those shelters” as long as hurricane survivors remain without suitable living arrangements.

“So, so far, we have $2 million [remaining],” Lewis said, noting that the amount would be added to the total of pledges received at the conclusion of the conference that day.

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