SOCIAL Services Minister Frankie Campbell.
FRIDAY UPDATE: A DAY after Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell said 1,208 are still unaccounted for following Hurricane Dorian, National Security Minister Marvin Dames clarified that police have reports of just 282 people still being missing - FULL STORY HERE
By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
MINISTER of Social Services Frankie Campbell said in the House of Assembly yesterday that 1,208 people are still unaccounted for after Hurricane Dorian.
The figure is a remarkable increase in the number of people missing and it caused confusion within government yesterday evening because officials had previously indicated the numbers were steadily declining as they cross-checked databases and tracked people down.
Mr Campbell’s statement came during debate on the new disaster preparedness legislation.
“We’ve been able to contact or reconnect 950 persons,” he said. “To date the number of persons still missing or unaccounted for is 1,003 in Abaco and 205 in Grand Bahama.
“That is according to our records at the Department of Social Services. There are persons who had made reports directly to the police and there is that possibility of double reporting.”
The Tribune asked Mr Campbell after his contribution if these were the correct numbers.
He said: “Yes, that is what has been reported to us at social services. The police and other agencies may have a different figure.”
Other government officials last night, speaking on background, said fewer than 400 people are unaccounted for according to their records but up to press time Mr Campbell’s figure was the only official one provided.
On September 11, NEMA said 2,500 were reported missing following the storm. That dropped to 1,300 on September 12. During his address to the United Nations General Assembly on September 27, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the number of people still missing was about 600. Earlier this month, NEMA said 424 people are still missing.
Mr Campbell also said in Parliament yesterday that with about 900 people remaining in shelters, the Fox Hill Community Centre shelter, the All Saints Auditorium shelter and the Pilgrim Baptist Church shelter will all close this week.
“We’ll be left with two shelters,” he said, including the “Seventh-Day Adventist church shelter on Wulff Road and the Kendal Isaacs Gym, which has the gym and three tents that hold 150 persons each.”
“At one point there were close to three thousand people at shelters,” he noted.