A model of the Family Relief Centre’s dome structure that will include plumbing, drainage, a sewer system, and electricity. Photos: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff
ONLY a handful of the domes meant to be temporary shelter for Abaco storm victims have arrived on that island, however more than 100 of the structures are expected to arrive before the end of the month.
John Michael Clarke, chairman of the Disaster Reconstruction Authority, said as of January 14, some 11 domes were being erected in Spring City, Abaco. By January 23, 119 domes will be on the island, a delay from an earlier anticipated timeline, he said.
Officials hope to erect 40 domes in Spring City by the end of January and commence with the construction of the other domes in communities throughout the impacted areas in Abaco, as soon as the residents for those structures have been identified.
The authority is currently working with the Department of Social Services, the Ministry of Works, the Department of Housing and NEMA in finalising the process for applications for temporary housing as well as for home repairs, according to a release from Bahamas Information Services.
Applications are expected to be accessed online by the end of January, at the Ministry of Works in the government complex in Marsh Harbour, and at the Disaster Reconstruction Authority office in Grand Bahama in the Star General Building.
Mr Clarke said while $6.4 million has been budgeted for the domes as a temporary housing solution, an estimated $4 million has been committed to cost.
“The domes are meant for temporary housing and not replacement homes,” he said. “The government is still committed to ensuring that residents get the necessary assistance to repair their homes. Given the extent of the damage, it was initially recognised that residents would have no housing while their homes are being repaired. Hence, the domes are deemed the most resilient solution to provide temporary housing.”
The criteria for domes and any other temporary housing solutions the government may provide are: the applicant must be a Bahamian citizen; documents showing property ownership and proof of residence on the property as of August 29, 2019 must be presented; and the property/house must be classified as severely damaged or totally destroyed based on assessment by the Ministry of Works.
The application process and qualification criteria will be published on the government’s website: www.bahamas.gov.bs and via other media avenues for easy access.
The estimated timeframe for home repairs is between 12-15 months, based on assessments carried out by the Ministry of Works. A total of 4,791 homes and structures have been assessed on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
The Authority aims to provide between 250 - 400 temporary housing units on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
All of the domes will be on Abaco by February 15. They will be erected on Abaco and surrounding cays, and Grand Bahama.
“We are actively in discussions with the MSC Foundation to provide temporary housing in Grand Bahama, in accordance with its timeline of mid-March this year,” Mr. Clarke said.
The Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority is responsible for the management of reconstruction and restoration in areas designated disaster zones.