Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said he is “very pleased” with restoration efforts on Abaco and Grand Bahama one year after Hurricane Dorian devastated the islands.
The monster Category 5 — the strongest on record to hit The Bahamas — pummeled the northern Bahamas for three days uprooting infrastructure and buildings and causing more than $3.4 billion in damage and losses.
In recent months, the COVID-19 pandemic has stagnated Dorian restoration efforts as inter-island travel was sporadically restricted and non-essential businesses periodically closed in order to contain the spread of the virus locally.
Despite this, Minnis told reporters on Friday, “I am very, very pleased with the progress that’s being made.
“You would be very, very surprised when the Ministry [of Disaster Preparedness] does a one year report and you would see, I think the entire Bahamas will be extremely shocked.
“The unfortunate thing is that in The Bahamas we feel that everything happens overnight. If a hurricane occurs today, then the following day we want to be back in business, we want everything back to normal and it takes a while.”
He said clean up has essentially been completed.
Minnis said only private properties are being cleaned at the moment.
In November, the prime minister said that government will provide free Crown Land on Abaco and Grand Bahama for the construction of low cost homes for Dorian survivors.
Minnis said that government will also install infrastructure for utilities at the homes at no cost to buyers.
On Friday, he provided an update on that initiative.
“They’ve already gotten the land, the two 60 acre plots,” Minnis said.
“We have sent that out to RFP (request for proposal) so that individuals can build, so I think you’re going to see a new Abaco and a new East End Grand Bahama.
“Abaco is doing very, very well.”
Minnis has said that the government cannot afford to give more than $10,000 in repair assistance to Bahamians who lost their houses during the storm.
He has promised that the government will do all it can.
Dorian displaced thousands of people.
In July, North Abaco Administrator Terrece Bootle-Laing said estimates indicated that about 20 Dorian survivors were still living in tents on the island.