PM insists his administration has helped Dorian survivors on GB and Abaco

As the third anniversary of Hurricane Dorian approaches, Prime Minister Philip Davis yesterday insisted that his government has helped the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama who survived the horrific storm.

Davis, who was critical of the Minnis administration’s handling of the storm in its aftermath, was asked what the government has done to assist survivors since it took office in September 2021.

He responded, “First of all, we have kept our social services program up by providing assistance. We are repairing homes now and building homes, and that’s what’s happening as we speak. We are meeting their needs as they approach us about them.”

Dorian was a vicious Category 5 storm that pummeled Grand Bahama and Abaco in September 2019. It caused $3.4 billion in damage and left thousands of people displaced.

The official death count stands at 74, but scores of people remain missing in the storm’s aftermath. The actual number of people missing three years later is unclear.

Following Dorian, the Minnis administration erected temporary domes for survivors whose homes had been destroyed or too damaged to live in. It spent roughly $6.4 million on 250 domes, but fewer than half of them were erected.

Disaster Reconstruction Authority Executive Chairman Alex Storr told The Nassau Guardian that the scores of residents living in the domes city in Spring City, Abaco, are required to vacate by August 27 so demolition of the structures can begin.

However, he said there is no set date for demolition.

Storr said the government wants to transition residents to “safer and more dignified” housing.

“Domes are unsafe, unhealthy, have mold issues [and] issues of unsavory conduct,” he said.

“The land is being used to build a modern housing development for Abaconians. In fact, some residents are applying for a new home in the subdivision.”

Storr said he is meeting with each family, who will have to relocate from the domes, to inform them of a new housing development in Spring City.

He said he will also offer assistance for relocation.

“Each individual case is different and the government is committed to making the transition as smooth as possible considering the circumstances,” Storr said.

“Assistance promised included financial and help with repairs to their damaged houses among other things. Some residents were expectedly upset but fully understood as they knew it was inevitable.

“Individual attention and support have been made available for each family and a vast majority of the people welcome the support. Of course, moving that many people is not easy but it’s an important step forward in Abaco’s recovery.”

Abaco, which is one of The Bahamas’ largest economies, has been experiencing a housing crisis since Dorian.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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