NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Bahamas Disaster Reconstruction Authority Chairman John Michael Clarke said yesterday that 90 percent of debris in public spaces on Abaco have been cleared since the authority shifted its focus in the cleanup process.
Clarke, who spoke during the launch of the authority’s Small Home Repair Programme in Grand Bahama, ensured that debris management efforts have been ramped up in recent weeks.
“Debris cleanup continues on the island of Grand Bahamas and Abaco,” he said.
“We have shifted our phase and focus with the debris [and] about 90 percent of debris in public spaces has been cleared.
“The Abaco Cays remain a challenge for us and we are actively seeking to have a solution to the Abaco Cays.
“On the mainland, we made a commitment to assist private residences and small businesses and business owners with the cleanup, so that we can advance the reconstruction process.
“We want to make our focus on cleanup a little bit more intense, so what you will be finding over the next few weeks on the Abaco Cays and at the debris management sites we will be moving with more intention.”
The Ministry of the Environment’s Debris Management Plan has established a timeline of 180 days to the total removal of debris.
It estimates there was 1.09 million cubic yards of debris in the Abaco districts and another 2.09 million cubic yard of debris in Grand Bahama.
Dorian pounded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama between September 1-3, claiming the lives of a confirmed 71 people — and displacing thousands.
In the aftermath of the storm the government commissioned several contractors to clear down the debris from the shantytowns.
Earlier this month, those contractors were given a two-week timeline before their contracts are changed and new protocols are implemented.
Clarke noted while it is not the intention of the authority to terminate any of those contracts if they are working and working with intention.
As for utilities on the island, Clarke noted that restoration continues.
“According to the latest BPL timeline, power should be fully restored on the island of Abaco and particularly within the Marsh Harbour district by May of this year,” he said.
“We are continuing discussions to make sure that the water utilities both in Abaco and Grand Bahama are fully restored.”