By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
NEARLY 5,000 people either went voluntarily or were evacuated to shelters throughout The Bahamas during the passage of Hurricane Matthew, according to Director of Social Services Melanie Zonicle.
Of that number, Ms Zonicle said there are at least 100 residents that “require long-term accommodations”.
At a press conference at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) on Sunday night, Ms Zonicle said there is a “dire need” for water, ice and tar paper especially in North Andros and Grand Bahama. She described the passage of Matthew as devastating.
A total of 2,417 people sought refuge at shelters in the Family Islands and 2,159 in New Providence.
“In Andros, we are still encountering some challenges with food and water and citizens are looking for accommodations and families have been displaced,” she said.
“In Grand Bahama, we have 70 residents in St George’s High School gym who require long term accommodations. There have also been frequent calls from Pinder’s Point and West End. So far, the staff and social workers have been able to visit 60 homes. Of that 60, they have prepared social assessments on 30 of them and they were not able to complete the rest because persons were home. The most pressing need for Grand Bahama right now is drinking water, tar paper and ice. Water is a big concern.”
In the capital, Ms Zonicle said teams from Social Services visited the hardest hit areas to conduct assessments and offer assistance.
“Social workers started assessments on Oct ober 8. A team went to Southern Shores and Misty Gardens and there were 93 homes damaged there. We travelled to South Beach and there was massive flooding.
“The residents expressed the need for food and water and we also travelled to Elizabeth Estates where there was severe roof damage. Persons also asked for water and tarp and when we went to Colony Village we received the same complaints from residents.
“We are asking the public to assist where they can. There is a great need in the Family Islands and New Providence for portable stoves, insect repellent, clothing lines, clothes pins, batteries, ice, disinfectant, rain gear, adult (diapers), feminine pads, baby diapers, hygiene kits and nebulisers.”
People in need of assistance are asked to contact the Social Services emergency hotlines 322-2763 or 422-2763.