By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
TWELVE emergency shelters are housing 1,962 people, according to the National Emergency Management Agency yesterday.
In New Providence, there are 1,894 evacuees in ten shelters, 68 in two Grand Bahama shelters and the only Abaco shelter was deactivated due to lack of use. There were no numbers provided for a privately-run shelter in Eleuthera.
Additionally, the Salvation Army’s emergency shelter was deactivated yesterday. The 27 people being housed there were transferred to the All Saints Community Centre.
According to the 2010 national census, there were 17,224 people living in the northern and southern parts of Abaco while 10,127 people lived in East Grand Bahama.
However, due to Dorian’s destruction, many were forced to evacuate. But NEMA said the number of people evacuated could not be confirmed due to the non-collection of manifests from docks and airport locations.
In the wake of Dorian, the government is gradually restoring essential services, which is expected to give people a sense of normalcy.
The government is also waiving duty on vehicles under $40,000 that will be imported to Grand Bahama and Abaco, NEMA said.
The agency gave several other updates.
Regarding the opening of schools in Grand Bahama, NEMA said officials were challenged with mould remediation, but the goal was to get all schools properly cleaned and prepared for students. However, officials have not decided when all schools will open.
“Some government schools are set to re-open on Monday, September 23. However, not all public schools will be able to meet that deadline,” NEMA said.
“Once the minister of education along with education officials tour all schools on the island, a determination will be made as to which schools will open on Monday versus schools that will have delayed openings.
“Superintendent of education in Grand Bahama, Ivan Butler says that work being done on some of the schools have been progressing well with the biggest challenge being mould remediation.”
A large-scale inspection was also being done on several government buildings.
Ministry of Works technical teams of engineers, architects and inspectors have completed their assessments of government buildings and critical infrastructure within East Grand Bahama inclusive of McLean’s Town, Pelican Point High Rock, Freetown, Golden Grove, Gambier Point, Turtle Reef and Bevans Town.
Assessments were also carried out in McLean’s Town, Freetown and High Rock, within the Grand Bahama Port Authority area and West End, Grand Bahama.
These teams have also completed assessments of the Harold DeGregory Complex and Sir Jack Hayward High School. Plans are to go into Mather Town by today.
The Road Traffic Department in Grand Bahama, which was severely flooded and closed, is expected to open on Monday.
At that time residents who were unable to licence their vehicles for August because of the hurricane, will be able to begin that process.
And for those dependent on unemployment benefits, temporary offices were set up in the CA Smith building for the Department of Labour.
The hours of operation are 9.30am to 3pm and the main contact is Janet Russell at 242-376-1393.
“Once the cleanup has been completed, Grand Bahama Power is expected to carry out the proper inspections because the offices of the department had been flooded with more than 3ft of water.
“All of the sockets within the building must be changed and a certified electrician must then go in to ensure that all protocols had been carried out, before the building is energised,” NEMA said.