Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis made the announcement at a press conference as he gave updates on the recovery process on Abaco and its cays and East End, Grand Bahama – the areas impacted by Hurricane Dorian in September. At right is John Michael Clarke, Co-chair of the Reconstruction Committee. (BIS Photo/Patrick Hanna)

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Friday November
8, 2019 –
Government
is looking to establish an independent and non-political body to help fund home
and building repairs for Abaco and Grand Bahama residents impacted by Hurricane
Dorian which pounded the northern Bahamas from September 1 to 3.

The Bahamas
National Recovery and Reconstruction Trust Fund will provide vulnerable
residents with up to $10,000 in grant money per household to assist families
with building supplies, labour or some combination of both, Prime Minister Dr
Hubert Minnis said.

“A committee
of subject matter experts will help to operationalize the Fund’s efforts and to
connect public and private stakeholders,” he explained.

The Fund
will receive applications from Bahamians in need, and work with pre-selected
contractors and project managers to pre-approve applications, inspect homes,
disburse funds directly to contractors or building suppliers, and receive necessary
Government approvals.

While the
Government will provide the initial start-up funds, the private independent
trust will be responsible for collecting and distributing funds for recovery
efforts to ensure transparency and full accountability, said Prime Minister
Minnis, adding that more details would be released as the Fund is developed.

The Fund is
expected to complement other public and private initiatives to get displaced
residents of Abaco and Grand Bahama back into their homes as quickly as
possible.

The
Government’s Family Relief Centre will house 125 of 250 domes that will
temporarily house Abaco residents near Spring City.

The
remaining 125 domes will be made available for local residents in Abaco who are
restoring and or repairing their homes.

So far, the
Spring City and Central Pines Sub-divisions have been identified as locations
for some of the remaining domes.

“This allows
residents who have lost homes in those areas to rebuild while staying on or
near their properties,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

The first
shipment of 40 domes is scheduled to arrive in mid-November and will be placed
in the Spring City Sub-division. Assessments are ongoing to determine the
number of domes that will be placed in the Central Pines Sub-divisions and to
identify other possible locations.

“As I have
said before, we need as much help possible for the mammoth task of rebuilding,”
said Minnis. “The Government is working with its NGO partners to facilitate
other home repair and replacement programmes on Abaco and Grand Bahama.”

The Prime
Minister reported that Samaritan’s Purse, an international NGO, is targeting a
total of 1,000 permanent home repairs and whole-house repairs. This work will
be done in partnership with local churches and local contractors and will be
carried out in compliance with “Build Back Better” principles.

This programme
will also include working through churches to provide vouchers to local
hardware stores for the most vulnerable to replace household assets.

In addition
to the 422 roofs tarped by Samaritan’s Purse across Grand Bahama and Abaco to
date, the organization is further targeting 500 Rapid Roof Repairs on both islands
in partnership with USAID.

Prime
Minister Minnis said the International Red Cross (IRC) has also committed to
repair 1,000 homes that have received minor to moderate damage. The IRC is
assessing if it can provide additional assistance for the full reconstruction
of homes, and how it may be able to provide financial resources to 2,000
households.

“I wish to once again thank Samaritan’s Purse, the International Red Cross and all of the other NGOs who have done so much great work across the areas affected by Hurricane Dorian,” the Prime Minister said.

Hurricane Dorian claimed the lives of more than 60 people and hundreds are still missing since its passage as a Category 5 storm.

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