Govt still challenged to ID bodies from Abaco

Identifying bodies of hurricane victims on Abaco has been a challenge, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said yesterday, as he noted that still only six bodies have been identified so far.

So far, 52 bodies have been recovered on the island in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, which left Marsh Harbour and some of the surrounding cays in ruin.

“This is a very challenging issue, because in order to identify persons you need somebody to identify them,” Sands said outside Cabinet.

“You need to have some comparative information, whether that is descriptive information or DNA to which you compare the victim and somebody who is living.

“That has been a slow process, so a number of bodies recovered in Abaco have not been identified yet.”

Sands said the Ministry of Health is also concerned about ensuring there is sufficient support for hurricane victims who are residing in shelters. According to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), over 900 people are still staying in shelters on New Providence.

“Mental health is a big, big concern, and we have to keep ramping up mental health support,” Sands said.

“The concern whenever people are in shelters is the possibility of an increased chance of sexual abuse, molestation and so on and so forth. So, you have to be on the lookout for that.”

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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