Nearly two years after Hurricane Dorian ravaged Abaco and Grand Bahama, Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe said yesterday that she has advised that 100 domes, intended to provide temporary housing for storm survivors, should no longer be erected.
“As for the domes, as the minister, it is my belief and stated advice that they are no longer constructed at this particular time,” she said.
Dorian, a Category 5 storm, decimated portions of Abaco and Grand Bahama in September 2019.
Following the storm, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the establishment of temporary housing in the form of dome-like structures, which was expected to cost about $6.4 million.
He said the government planned to set up 250 domes on Abaco in a “tent city”.
However, many Dorian survivors have raised concerns over the pace with which the government has moved to implement its plans for housing assistance.
Parker-Edgecombe said there is no longer a significant demand for a community of domes, and said they could be put to better use in the aftermath of future hurricanes.
However, she said people who request the structures for use on their own property should still receive them.
“I am of the view that the domes no longer be constructed simply because of the fact that they were meant for temporary housing,” Parker-Edgecombe said.
“Now, that does not disregard the fact that there may be individuals who still want the domes. And in this instance, if there are persons out there who are requesting them, I think we have to give them to those individuals.
“But, from what we’ve seen on the ground, persons aren’t necessarily asking for the domes anymore per se. And the ones who are, we definitely have to ensure that they receive them.
“But the others, it’s a very, very complex situation in erecting those.
“And I believe that they could be better used for the future – and I pray that it doesn’t happen – hurricanes. But at this point in time, I don’t necessarily see how we can utilize them effectively unless individuals have asked for them specifically.”
Abaco residents have also been questioning when a new community center and hurricane shelter in Central Abaco, which the government broke ground on in December, will be completed.
At the time, Minnis said the facility would be finished by May 2021, ahead of the hurricane season.
While Parker-Edgecombe said several weeks ago that she hoped the shelter would be completed by the end of this summer, she said yesterday that a completion date has not yet been given by the contractor.
“The contractor, Premier Importers, was handed over the property [on Monday], while FES will serve as the subcontractor and construct the building,” Parker-Edgecombe said.
“A date for the completion of the building has not been given yet.
“Meetings addressing such will take place this week, keeping in mind the current challenges with acquiring building materials.”