NEMA Assistance To The Southern Bahamas

Wednesday 26th, October 2011 / 20:32 Published by

Communication Information of Parliament NEMA Assistance to the Southern Bahamas Following Hurricane Irene

Mr. Speaker:

At our last sitting a concern was raised with respect to the pace of delivery of hurricane reconstruction assistance to residents of the southern Bahamas.

I believe it opportune to provide an update on assistance delivered in the aftermath of the storm to communities in Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay and Mayaguana as follows:

Acklins:

During the Relief Phase of assistance, 26th August – 12th September some 500 cases or 2,000 gallons of water, together with substantial food stuff, cleaning items and tarpaulins, a generator and other tools, were provided for the immediate relief of residents.  These goods were shipped by NEMA with the assistance and collaboration of the Bahamas Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Methodist Habitat organization.

Four RBDF Marines were deployed to Acklins to assist with the initial clearing of debris, the conduct of damage assessments, and further to assist with securing and distributing relief items arriving on the island.

The Repair and Restoration Phase of NEMA assistance began on 19th September and continues.

Damage assessment completed by the Department of Social Services with the assistance of the Ministry of Public Works and Transport identified some 105 homes had been impacted to some degree or other by the storm which would require assistance from NEMA in affecting repairs.  Minor damage was sustained to 87 dwellings, 17 houses sustained major damage, and 1 was destroyed.  These houses are spread out among settlements as follows:

Hard Hill         3

Snug Corner      7

Spring Point      2

Delectable Bay
& Pompey Bay     4

Salina Point      5

Lovely Bay     13

Chester’s         6

Pine Field/
Anderson         5

A total of some $152, 578.40 has been expended on the purchase and shipment of building materials for  Acklins.

A total of 47 persons received materials from the first delivery.  A second shipment departed Nassau yesterday and is expected in Acklins today.

Some 24 builders from the RBDF, the Ministry of Public Works &Transport and a member of the Cabinet Office staff were deployed to Acklins to assist with the repair programme.  Thus far repairs have been commenced on fifteen homes of senior citizens; a first priority.

Some $62,000 has been expended on accommodation, per diem and transportation for the repair teams from Nassau providing for.

Additionally two teams of residents of Acklins of nine individuals each, one from North Acklins and the other from the south of the island, will be engaged to commence repairs on additional homes following upon the arrival of the second shipment of building materials today.

However, I must also advise that as a result of complaints emanating from Acklins with regard to the distribution of relief goods and the engagement of local residents, NEMA dispatched a retired Defence Force Officer to Acklins to review the list of materials being assigned for each of the repair projects and also to review the selection process for engagement of the repair teams to be made up of residents of Acklins to ensure fairness in both processes.

Additionally, I can advise that the Director of NEMA will visit Acklins before the end of this week to allay any fears or concerns regarding the fairness of the repair and reconstruction programme on that island.

Regrettably, this will result in some delay in the start up of this latest phase of the repair programme.   I note that Acklins is the only island from which we have received complaints.

It is anticipated that the two teams, once selected will complete repairs on an average of six home per week (12), and 36- 40 over the three week period of their deployment in Acklins weather permitting.

Labour costs associated connected to this three week repair schedule is estimated at just over $$17, 000, payable to residents of Acklins

Mr. Speaker:

I also advise that Mr. Bruce Knowles, an aged resident of Long Cay who was left homeless as a result of the destruction of his home by Hurricane Irene has been relocated to an unused but habitable teacher’s cottage on Long Cay where he is now comfortably accommodated.  A decision is to be made on whether to permit Mr. Knowles to continue to reside in this Bahamas Government house as a tenant indefinitely or whether NEMA will construct a replacement dwelling for Mr. Knowles.

Crooked Island

As in Acklins, during the initial relief period, 26th August – 12th September some 500 cases of water were delivered to Crooked Island together with food, cleaning items, tarpaulin, generators and family packs by NEMA, the Bahamas Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Methodist Habitat.

Four RBDF Marines were deployed to assist with the initial clean up, damage assessments and with securing, and distribution of relief items.

The Repair and Restoration Phase of the recovery commenced on the 19th September and continues.

The Department of Social Services and Ministry of Public Works & Transport identified 44 homes damaged and in need of assistance with repairs. Of these, 37 dwellings sustained minor damage, 6 – major damage, and 1 was destroyed.

Building materials have been purchased for NEMA’s repair programme in Crooked Island at a cost of some $16,000.

To date a team of repairmen comprised of 18 Defence Force Officers, the Ministry of Public and skilled and unskilled labourers, resident in Crooked Island, have completed repairs to 12 homes.  Additional building supplies are now in route to Crooked Island.

Some $10, 672.00 has been expended on transportation, accommodation and per diem for the team of 18.

With the arrival of the building supplies in route to Crooked Island this week a repair team of 9 individuals will be engaged from amongst residents of Crooked Island to advance the repair work program on that island. It is anticipated that the team will complete repairs to some 15 -20 houses that have been identified for assistance.

Three weeks wages for this locally engaged team of 9 workers is expected to amount to some $8,638.

Mr. Speaker:

Mayaguana

Honourable Members will recall that during the emergency relief period (26th August -12th September) NEMA directed a shipment of food and water dispatched from Jamaica, the Focal point for CDEMA’s Sub- Regional Group, to Mayaguana.

NEMA also directed in excess of 500 cases or 2,000 gallons of water to Mayaguana together with food supplies, plastic sheeting, cleaning items, and family packs which as in the case of Acklins and Crooked Island were supplied from NEMA’s reserves and from generous donations from the Bahamas Red Cross, the Salvation Army and the Methodist Habitat organization.

As in other areas of MICAL, the NEMA’s Repair and Restoration Phase of hurricane reconstruction commenced in Mayaguana on 19th September and continues.

Assessments by the Department of Social Services and the Ministry of Public Works and Transport identified 79 homes damaged by the storm which qualified for assistance.  Fortunately, all of the damages sustained in Mayaguana were found to be minor in nature – mainly damage to roofs.

$6,496 has been expended on the purchase of building materials for repairs to be undertaken on Mayaguana.

Thus far building materials for repair work have been distributed to all 79 homes.

Repairs to four homes have been completed with the assistance of NEMA teams.

The arrival of additional building supplies in Mayaguana this week will permit a team of 9 residents, engaged locally, to commence additional repairs primarily to the homes of senior citizens over the next 3 weeks.   This three week exercise will cost some $8,638.05 in wages.

The teams are expected to complete repairs to 6 homes in each week for a total of 18 houses over the three week period.

Mr. Speaker:

As indicated in my Report of the 5th October on the aftermath of the storm all public utility services – water, electricity and telephone – were expeditiously restored around the country within less than one month of the passing of the storm.

I take this opportunity to also advise Honourable Members that NEMA hurricane repair teams are also being engaged in San Salvador, Long Island, Central Eleuthera, North Abaco and in Cat Island.  In this regard, Family Island Administrators are coordinating the identification of suitably skilled individuals to conduct repairs on the affected islands

In virtually all cases, building supplies are being provided to those home owners able to organize the repair of their dwellings without further intervention by NEMA.  In the case of senior citizens or other disadvantaged residents who qualify for assistance, repairs are being undertaken by the NEMA teams.

I advise also that the Ministry of Finance continues to receive applications for waiver of customs duty or refund of customs duties on goods purchased in The Bahamas to replace or repair structures and or items damaged and lost in the storm.  As the periods of exemptions under the Exigency Order expires, I will provide a complete report so that Honourable Members are apprised of the value of the hurricane duty waivers.

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