More than 300 people from Haitian shantytowns that were affected by Hurricane Dorian are missing, according to officials from the newly formed United Haitian Community Front.
The committee is made up of religious leaders and human rights groups from the local Haitian community. Organizations backing the committee include the Haitian League of Pastors and Rights Bahamas.
Rights Bahamas President Stephanie St. Fleur says one of their biggest concerns is the number of shantytown residents who are still missing after the storm.
“We formed a group called ‘Abaco Relief’ and we were having families sending the names of their family members and pictures, and so far, I think I’ve sent three pages into NEMA. The total is 309 so far, and we’re still continuing to gather names of missing persons.”
The preliminary Abaco Shantytown Assessment Report, 2018, released last December, showed that 3,041 people resided in six shantytowns on Abaco, inclusive of Sand Banks, Farm Road, L and H in Treasure Cay, The Mudd, Pigeon Peas and Elbow Cay.
The study surveyed 777 households and indicated that The Mudd was the most densely populated shantytown with 51.4 percent of the population, followed by Pigeon Peas with 19 percent.
Following Dorian, both the Peas and Mudd were flattened.
St. Fleur said the majority of those considered missing lived in The Mudd and Pigeon Peas communities in Marsh Harbour, Abaco.
Many have raised concern over discrimination against Haitians in the relief process and deportations. However, Pastor Edward St. Fleur said he has not seen evidence of this.
“Personally, I’ve not experienced that in the places that I’ve assisted – at PMH (Princess Margaret Hospital), Social Services, the reception has been very cordial, and I must commend the staff of both institutions,” he said.
“They’re doing a fantastic job.”