In a message to the country on the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Dorian, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday acknowledged that not enough progress has been made in the rebuilding of Abaco and Grand Bahama communities.
“We have made some progress, but not enough,” he said.
“There is still so much, much more to do.”
On September 1, 2019, Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Abacos as the most powerful storm in the region on record. Leaving a trail of devastation behind, it then struck Grand Bahama where it lingered for days, flattening communities and hindering rescue efforts.
The extreme winds and storm surge devastated entire communities, leaving at least 74 dead and thousands homeless and displaced.
A year later, residents of both islands are still without basic necessities including electricity. Many are still living in tents or unrepaired homes, even in the heart of the 2021 hurricane season.
Over the months, the lack of progress has been heavily criticized, as many say government inaction has hampered personal efforts to rebuild lives and livelihoods.
Minnis said yesterday that the restoration of the islands will take “many years” as he pledged better communication.
“It will take many years before Abaco and Grand Bahama are fully restored,” he said.
“I fully acknowledge the frustration at how long many things have taken. We pledge to communicate to you in a timelier and more effective manner.
“On behalf of the government, I acknowledge what has not been done and the long and difficult road ahead.
“The government continues to do the hard work to restore and to rebuild the communities still hurting badly on this painful day of remembrance.”
Minnis said he will do all he can to ensure the restoration of the islands.
“With God’s blessing and the continued work of citizens, the government, businesses, churches, civic groups and international partners, Abaco and Grand Bahama will emerge in time from this even more prosperous and dynamic than they were before,” he said.
“You have my abiding and unwavering commitment that I will continue to do all that I can to help to restore the lives and the communities of those devastated by Hurricane Dorian one year ago, today.”
He added, “We remember and we will never forget the pain, the suffering and the devastation from this monster storm, from which it will take time to recover on many levels.”