NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Disaster Reconstruction Authority (DRA) has spent just over $17 million to date on the Hurricane Dorian Small Home Repair Programme (SHRP) for individual’s whose homes were destroyed in the deadly 2019 storm, said newly-appointed Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Pakesia Parker-Edgecombe on Wednesday.
During her first presentation in the House for the mid-year budget debate, Parker-Edgecombe provided an update on the ministry’s work more than a year after Hurricane Doran devastated Grand Bahama and Abaco.
She advised that some 3,735 homeowners were approved for the Small Home Repair Programme and 2,645 homeowners will complete the program by June 30.
She noted that the DRA will seek to approve an additional 1,090 homeowners in July.
In February of last year, the DRA launched the SHRP, which would have allowed Bahamians impacted by Hurricane Dorian to access up to $10,000 in funds for repairs, which would be paid to local vendors and contractors.
The program resumed two weeks ago, after it was put on hold last year due to a shortfall in funding.
The government had expected to garner funds from pledges offered from countries and organizations, along with other efforts to help fund Dorian restoration.
However, officials have said the novel coronavirus pandemic created delays in receiving promised donations.
As a result of the financial challenges, vendors on both storm-hit islands reported significant delays on payment from the government.
Parker-Edgecombe assured on Wednesday: “It is not true that vendors are not accepting purchase orders from the DRA for the SHRP anywhere in Grand Bahama or Abaco.”
A DRA report, tabled by the disaster management minister, shows $414,434 is owed to vendors and contractors for the SHRP.
Another $644,606 is owed in connection to the Community Cleanup Project and $1,393,394 is accrued for debris management sites.
“We are far from completing reconstruction work on these two islands,” Parker-Edgecombe said.
“In fact, the devastation of Dorian is not a one-year or two-year fix and it will require focused efforts by government and the communities most impacted.”
She further advised that the DRA will focus on five priority projects over the next several months, including the SHRP; the Abaco Centre; the Abaco Port; the housing development in Central Pines, Abaco; and continued community cleanup and debris management.