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Islands in line for new storm shelters

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KATHERINE Forbes-Smith

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

DISASTER Reconstruction Authority officials have set their sights on October 1 to begin construction of two shelters after Hurricane Dorian one year ago proved that churches and schools are not adequate to withstand storm force winds.

The shelters, which will double as community centres, are to be constructed in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Katherine Smith, Disaster Reconstruction Authority managing director, told The Tribune the agency was about 50 percent of the way toward securing the funding needed to build these facilities.

“We have a need to construct community centres/hurricane shelters because as you know in the country, we’ve always used churches and schools and these churches and schools and any other building weren’t necessarily constructed to handle a Category Five storm or any level of storm for the most part,” said Mrs Smith.

“So what we felt as an authority, and this is one of our main goals, is before or by October 1 is the construction of a community centre.hurricane shelter in Central Pines in Abaco and one in Grand Bahama. We want them in communities where people have full use of the buildings when a hurricane isn’t around but can be used as a community centre.

“So we have Rotary International. We have Ernst & Young. We have Bahamas Hope. All of these three entities we’re talking about and collaborating on assisting us with the construction of these centres and hurricane shelters.

“We want to start construction October 1,” she also said. “That’s our plan. If everything falls in line then we’ll be able to do that. But we do not want to start anything until we know that we have 100 percent funding lined up for those two shelters.”

Following Hurricane Dorian’s destruction, many in Abaco and Grand Bahama found themselves without homes.

As a temporary housing solution, the National Emergency Management Agency budgeted $6.4m for temporary domes, with an estimated $4m committed to cost.

The domes had been perceived negatively but this has turned around.

According to Wendell Grant II, project director with the DRA, the domes have been well received well in the community and officials have been unable to meet the demand for the structures.

Mrs Smith said: “There were 250 domes purchased by NEMA because NEMA as the agency responsible for the early relief would have engaged in the purchases of these domes initially and the whole idea was to purchase at least 250 domes.

“There was an idea also to set up some type of like a community centre so to speak for the persons who would have been living in these domes and that they were going to put all in one central area.

“After the hurricane we had some town meetings and people had heard of the domes, what the plan was initially about these domes being erected in one central area. They didn’t want that.”

As a result 32 domes were placed in Spring City, Abaco.

“But there was a lot of misconception because people thought that people who were not residents of Spring City were going to be living in those domes. That was not the case so the 32 domes that are now in Spring City were made available to as many residents of Spring City first. There may be some persons who do not ordinarily live there but that’s because the response from others may not have happened at the time.”

One hundred domes have also been erected on private properties and 40 domes will be placed in Grand Bahama for residents of High Rock, McLean’s Town, Pelican Point and a fewer number will be in the cays, Mrs Smith said.

Comments

Amused 3 years, 9 months ago

And let me guess 20million up front cost for a inadequate poorly built shelter with another 10million in cost over runs? I'm sure that will happen

Porcupine 3 years, 9 months ago

And Andros? How many more hurricane seasons shall pass, and how many more lives lost? We live in the past, with no vision for the future.

joeblow 3 years, 9 months ago

This was an opportunity to build quarantine sites on different islands during the pandemic that could have doubled as hurricane shelters ( or other multipurpose buildings). Governments just love to waste time and money!

Hoda 3 years, 9 months ago

Why couldnt the buildings hypothetically be that when done? I dont understand gow this is a waste of money they said that the shelters are being built from private funding from the organizations mentioned. The central govt paying for quarantine at breezers.

joeblow 3 years, 9 months ago

"So we have Rotary International. We have Ernst & Young. We have Bahamas Hope. All of these three entities we’re talking about and collaborating on assisting us with the construction of these centres and hurricane shelters."

Talking about and assisting is not doing! The major failure of the government in handling this pandemic was not physically quarantining infected persons. Knowing that hurricane season was coming it seems prudent to me for them to have considered from March that they could have addressed two problems at once, by doing what I suggested. Post Dorian, hurricane shelters should have been high on a list of priorities for certain islands!

But watch them spend twice the money and get half the benefit!

Hoda 3 years, 9 months ago

Is not doing what? Seems exactly what u are suggesting is planned the multupurpose hurricane shelter. Are we just complaining and suspicious of everything this year.

tribanon 3 years, 9 months ago

You're too gay for me. LOL

Hoda 3 years, 9 months ago

Okay. I understand your point. Sooner, MORE

The phillipines makes you quarantine as soon as u land at the airport for 2 weeks at a govt facility you are taxed and must pay for all food and expenses. If you travel to another province its another two weeks at your expense.

Sickened 3 years, 9 months ago

We use churches because we believe that God won't allow any harm to come to people holed up in a place of worship. SMH. Tell that to the family of the people who died in a church in Abaco during Dorian. How shamelessly ignorant are we as a people? Mother nature is in charge here and everywhere.

DWW 3 years, 9 months ago

Give all the funds to Rotary Bahamas and let them stretch that dollar to maximum use. Rotary International has a unique way to putting every donated dollar to use 3 times.

birdiestrachan 3 years, 9 months ago

How much are they paying this woman and why has roc wit doc created this post? just to take money out of the treasury.

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