NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to aid clean-up and debris management of Hurricane Dorian-impacted areas.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced the collaboration during a press conference yesterday.
Minnis noted the UNDP will assist with monitoring, evaluation and technical assistance, providing guidance to the Department of Environmental Health and the Department of Public Works contractors to enhance debris disposal.
He said the organization will provide advice on the prevention of debris burning, accumulation of stagnant water and proliferation of disease vectors; and advice on recycling and garbage sorting, storage site and management strategies.
The group will also provide support for debris clearance and barge export from the Abaco Cays.
“In the Abaco Cays, clean-up is progressing,” said Minnis.
“Let me note that the residents on a number of the cays have started to rebuild.
“To solve a chronic problem with garbage collection that has been exacerbated by Hurricane Dorian, a barge is in transit and will remove storm debris and other garbage from Green Turtle Cay.
“Residents have had to burn garbage for years due to the lack of a proper disposal system.
“The plan is to put in place a permanent system to relive this problem so that garbage is collected regularly from the cay and then transferred to a laydown site on the mainland, as is currently done on neighbouring cays.”
According to the prime minister, the UNDP MOU will also cover assistance for the Bahamas Environment, Science & Technology (BEST) Commission.
The organization will assist with the preparation of a Bahamas Environment Emergency Response Plan and an environmental assessment of the dumpsite and debris management sites rehabilitation, design and new capacity.
Additionally, UNDP will provide assistance with the government’s Equinor oil spill follow-up.
Equinor – formally known as Statoil – confirmed that 55,000 barrels of oil spilled at the South Riding Point facility in East Grand Bahama during the passage of Hurricane Dorian.
The company has said the amount of oil spill versus oil recovered will likely never fully match, due to the “evaporation of oil and other natural processes.”