It’s been months since Hurricane Dorian ravaged parts of the Bahamas, but reconstruction hasn’t even started to begin. The past few months the government and aid workers have been busy assessing the damage. Now, the Disaster Reconstruction Authority is finally slated to begin home repairs in Abaco and Grand Bahamas in February.
So far the Disaster Reconstruction Authority has been busy assessing nearly 5,000 homes. So far in Abaco, just under 1,000 buildings have been surveyed: 314 in Central Pines, 460 in March Harbour, 159 in Spring City, and 4 in Dundas Town. Marsha Harbour and Central Pines were hit the hardest in Abaco, while in Grand Bahama High Rock, McLeans Town, and Sweetings Cay took the brunt of the storm.
A total of 4,719 homes and structures have been assessed in Abaco and Grand Bahama so far. Of those, 437 were completely destroyed, 885 sustained major damaged, 898 sustained medium damage, and 2,503 sustained minimal damage.
While repairs are slated for next month, John Michael Clarke, the authority’s chairman, stated that the timeline was hinged on whether the materials arrived on schedule or not.
“We are targeting to have a full roll out of the home repairs program, both in Grand Bahama and Abaco by the 1st of February and this is contingent on us getting the materials,” he said. “So, we are actively getting the assessment completed by the Ministry of Works and Social Services; getting that data back; collating and organizing that data so we can begin the home repairs.”
The authority is also exploring temporary housing options in the eastern Grand Bahamas. “Outside of the immediate need, our focus now shifts into housing and sheltering,” Clarke said. “That’s our primary focus is going to be on this year and getting the schools and stuff up.”
Hurricane Dorian devastated Abaco and Grand Bahamas. The Category 5 storm stalled over the areas for days, leveling communities with over 185 mph winds. At least 71 people have been confirmed dead, but hundreds remain missing. It’s been estimated that the storm costs around $3.4 billion in damages and lost economic opportunities.
The Disaster Reconstruction Authority will be spearheading repair efforts, however, Prime Minister Minnis states that clean up efforts may require international contractors.
“We recognize our limitations, and therefore we may have to be subcontractors behind a major contractor. These are the realities and Bahamians have to accept that. If you want to rebuild, you bring in the best; you bring the best that will give you results and that we’ll do just that.” Said Minnis.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian, the government hired several contractors to clear debris. There were an estimated 1.09 million cubic yards of debris in Abaco and another 2.09 million cubic yards of debris in Grand Bahama.