Nearly three months after Hurricane Dorian pummeled large swaths of Abaco and Grand Bahama, the majority of homes on the island remain untouched, according to Senior Deputy Island Administrator for North and Central Abaco Terrece Bootle-Laing.
“More so than ever the cays are moving along faster, but we still have just about 80 percent of persons that once resided in Abaco still trying to get some sort of recovery effort, or rebuilding, or repairs,” Bootle Laing said.
“So, as you move along, you see homes being repaired, but they’re not the majority as yet. You see a lot of work being done, you see a lot of debris cleanup happening more so than the rebuilding efforts. So, we can say that the majority of the homes have not been repaired yet.”
She added that there are areas, mainly in Blackwood, Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour, that remain without electricity, posing a major issue to residents.
“As you can imagine, this island has been entirely devastated, some areas more so than the others,” she said.
“The economy itself is virtually non-existent in some areas. So, persons are concerned about being able to provide for their families.
“In Treasure Cay and Marsh Harbour particularly, there is virtually no economy for persons to return to. So, that’s a grave concern. There’s a long road ahead for Abaconians. You know, Abaconians are used to having a robust economy, and living their lives independently. So, this overall is not easy.”
While some of these homes remain untouched, Laing added that some residents are unable to return home to start or assist in cleanup efforts because of a lack of accommodation on the island.
The government is providing domes for some storm victims as temporary housing.
Asked about the mood of residents still on the ground, Laing said, “You see a mixture of emotions by persons. You have persons who are more positive and anticipate that this is an opportunity for Abaco to rebuild and to really thrive.
“Knowing that we were in a thriving economy with issues that we were still battling with, there are incidents where the devastation has been tremendous – the loss of all of their personal assets, the loss of their livelihood, the death toll and the destruction that has happened in Abaco.
“So, as can be expected, some persons are finding it difficult to cope. Many persons have had to leave. They’re in a new environment. Many are in [New Providence], and they’re calling and hoping for some improvement because they’re not coping well. So, there’s a mixture of emotions on the ground because this is a major setback for Abaco, and that’s to be expected. It’s not an easy road.”