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No mass burial of Dorian’s victims

The government will not conduct mass burials for victims of Hurricane Dorian, Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) Managing Director Katherine Forbes-Smith said yesterday.

“Discussions circulating of a mass burial [are] not true,” Forbes-Smith said during the authority’s six-month update following Dorian.

“It is false. No one should exploit this issue. The remains of the unknown will be placed in individual graves.

“Out of respect for families, we do not wish to say anything further on this matter. It is expected in the coming days that a date, this month, will be announced for the national service for the families.”

Dorian devastated Abaco and Grand Bahama in early September. The deadly Category 5 storm — the strongest to hit The Bahamas – impacted nearly 30,000 people.

It killed at least 74 people and left dozens missing.

On January 19, the Ministry of Health said there were 51 bodies being stored in the refrigerated trailer near the clinic in Marsh Harbour.

Yesterday, Forbes-Smith said a team from the coroner’s office will travel to Abaco today.

“The DRA has asked members of the Bahamas United Funeral Homes and Morticians Association and Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) to take carriage of the organization and planning of the burial in conjunction with the DRA,” she said.

“The group has been strategic with its preparation.

“On Tuesday, the DRA’s technical team — led by its chairman Wendall Grant, a civil structural engineer — will be on Abaco to determine the exact location for the burial on the site already determined.

“During this process, the Christian Council and morticians association will meet with family members of people presumed deceased to discuss any special considerations and concerns they may be having regarding the burial.”

Forbes-Smith said the authority will not “exploit the memory of the deceased”.

The burials will cost $247,000, according to Forbes-Smith.

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