BY DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
NEARLY 4,000 approved homeowners on Grand Bahama and Abaco have been assessed and funded through the Disaster Reconstruction Authority’s Small Home Repair Programme.
The DRA continues to prioritize available resources to both those islands following the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.
“The DRA recognizes that the needs within the communities of Abaco and Grand Bahama are pressing, and we are methodically prioritizing the work and maximizing the available resources to ensure that the islands of Abaco including the Cays and Grand Bahama are fully reconstructed,” it stated in a recent press statement.
To date, 3,735 homeowners met the criteria to receive assistance and were assessed and funded through the Small Home Repair programme.
Approved homeowners had to be Bahamian; the house had to have been destroyed in Dorian and had not received insurance, and homeowners had to show proof of home homeownership.
In Abaco, DRA provides technical assistance and management for the reconstruction of the Leonard Thompson International Airport and the Treasure Cay International Airport demolition projects.
Temporary housing is also being provided by DRA in the form of 100 mobile homes and 70 domes. There is also continuous development of the 800-person hurricane shelter, which will double as a community center in Central Pines, Abaco. Construction is also underway on five of 42 homes, in Central Pines, Abaco.
Additionally, the DRA continues to support tablet distribution for primary and high school students in Abaco, support of fire victims in Cooper’s Town, Abaco providing bulldozers for firefighters in and around Central Abaco.
There is also an ongoing collaboration with several entities such as BPL, BTC, Cable Bahamas, The Grand Bahama Port Authority, The Grand Bahama Utility Company, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health, and Ministry of Works.
The DRA noted that the COVID-19 pandemic did impact its ability to raise funds.
DRA took over from the Ministry of Works and the Department of Environmental Health Services in February 2020. Through continued collaboration with UNDP and the Department of Environmental Health Services, it has successfully spearheaded Abaco and The Cays’ cleanup and the central stockpiling of that debris in both Spring City and Treasure Cay.
Bahamian companies were used almost exclusively in the cleanup and debris removal exercises. The majority were residents on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
“As a matter of policy and practice, the DRA endeavors to prioritize contracting companies within the specific Disaster Zone (Abaco & Grand Bahama) to execute our projects within the Zone,” the statement said.
DRA continuously peruses donations in their development office to supplement the government’s funding in these very trying fiscal times. DRA has reacted to the pressing needs of the Abaco community and has deployed qualified technical support to live in that community and address the very unique needs of The Abacos,” it read.
Feedback from key stakeholders within the declared Disaster Zone Communities of Abaco and Grand Bahama is welcomed. Persons are invited to connect with DRA on social media or to call us directly in Grand Bahama at 352-9111 or Abaco at 699-1450 or email them at email@example.com.