Unused goods obtained in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian might be used to provide relief if the COVID-19 pandemic creates “extreme conditions”, according to Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis.
During a recent virtual COVID-19 panel with officials from the United States and Puerto Rico, Lewis said the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) is assessing its inventory to determine what supplies might be able to be used for this new crisis the country is facing.
“As a matter of fact, NEMA, we have our warehouse, we still have some supplies in our warehouse,” Lewis said.
“And right now we are stockpiling and we’re doing inventory because if there’s a shortage of food supply, you know food security is very important.
“So we are doing an inventory of all the supplies we have in Nassau, in Abaco and in Grand Bahama, and we’ll hold onto those just a little longer…
“So as a result of Dorian, we do have extra supplies in the country. So once again we thank you and we thank the world for that.”
Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm on record to ever hit The Bahamas, devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama last September.
It left at least 74 dead and hundreds missing or displaced.
The country was still grappling with Dorian recovery when the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, a situation Lewis referred to as “a double whammy”.
He noted that The Bahamas cannot rely on international aid with this crisis as it did with Dorian; instead, it needs to look at diversifying the economy.
“Hurricane Dorian only affected…our second and our third economies, but now COVID is affecting the entire country and affecting the entire world,” Lewis said.
“Dorian showed us that we were not alone, the whole world came to our aid.
“However, during these kind of times the world cannot come to our aid because everybody is seeking help. Everybody is seeking answers.
“So we are doubling down. The prime minister has again organized a committee where we will look at changing the way our economy operates.
“We rely on tourism, we rely on banking, so we now have to diversify so that at the end of the day whenever we have natural disasters or man-made disasters, whatever it is, we are able to survive.”