A LONG road of recovery and rebuilding is ahead for communities in Abaco and Grand Bahama, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said at the handover ceremony of ‘Bahama House’ to Blackwood resident Esther Ann Cornish Laing.
Mrs Laing lost her home in September 2019 during the Category 5 Hurricane Dorian.
The home was donated by the Beck Foundation, the charitable arm of the Beck Group Ltd, which is led by Bahamian CEO Fred Perpall.
At the event in Abaco, Dr Minnis said $11m has been spent and hundreds of homeowners assisted so far under the Disaster Reconstruction Authority’s (DRA) Small Home Repairs Programme for Grand Bahama and Abaco residents impacted by Hurricane Dorian.
Dr Minnis said the government is grateful for the generous assistance of the private sector and non-profits as the two islands continue to rebuild.
“Such generosity is a part of a much broader and larger home rebuilding and housing programme funded and led by the government of The Bahamas,” said Dr Minnis.
Working with various partners, the DRA has provided 150 temporary housing domes on Abaco and the Cays, and 20 homes for families at Sweeting’s Cay and East Grand Bahama, noted the Prime Minister.
Two 60-acre sites in Spring City and Wilson City, Abaco have been identified for permanent housing, and through a public-private partnership with the Discovery Land Company, 46 homes are being developed and will be gifted to 46 families, he added.
The government is also committed to repairing and providing logistical support to 250 homes in Cooper’s Town, Blackwood and Fire Road, Abaco, he said.
“We still have a long road ahead. But along this road of rebuilding and recovery will be newly restored and new homes for Bahamians,” said Dr Minnis.
The Beck Foundation has been involved in restoration efforts in Abaco for some time, beginning just days after Hurricane Dorian. To date, the foundation has donated food, clothing, 40 generators, portable water supplies and other perishable goods.
The home turned over to Mrs Laing is a custom design specifically for The Bahamas and frequent hurricanes, said the Prime Minister. It is also designed to reflect the best elements of Bahamian architecture.
“This home was built for resilience as we continue to rebuild Abaco and parts of Grand Bahama in the midst of the great challenge of climate change,” said Dr Minnis.
The 1,250 sq ft home has been wind tested to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. It was built by the Beck Group in Dallas, Texas at Factory Blue and then transported from the US to Marsh Harbour. The house was installed in Blackwood by SAGOMA Construction.
The total value of the house, including furnishing, fixtures and equipment is approximately $180,000.
“Bahama House represents the quality and kinds of corporate and non-profit partnerships which are helping to redevelop and to revitalise Abaco after the worst natural disaster in Bahamian history,” said Dr Minnis.
“As I noted in the immediate aftermath of Dorian, the unprecedented nature and magnitude of the Hurricane required public/private collaboration and partnerships between The Bahamas and other governments and international agencies.”