NASSAU, BAHAMAS- The Department of Social Services has provided $100 food vouchers to 2,611 Hurricane Dorian evacuees in New Providence, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
NEMA reported, up to Wednesday, 2,423 people have been assisted at the department’s headquarters, along with 20 people at the Fox Hill Community Support Center, 100 people at the Robinson Road Community Support Center and 68 people at the Pitt Road Community Center.
Hurricane Dorian, the strongest storm to hit the Northwest Bahamas, devastated parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama, with maximum sustained winds at 185 mph and storm surges 18 to 23 feet above normal tide levels.
Following the storm, thousands of people were evacuated from the storm-ravaged areas, many of which landed in shelters throughout New Providence.
According to NEMA, nearly eight weeks since the storm’s passage, there are 791 evacuees living across six shelters in New Providence.
The Calvary Baptist Shelter is scheduled to deactivate by the end of this week.
As for the largest of the shelters, officials at the Kendal G. L. Issacs Gymnasium say one of three tents will be downsized due to a prior agreements with the owners.
Deputy Director of Social Services Kim Sawyer told Eyewitness News Online yesterday: “We are switching out a tent. The persons who the tents are rented from has a function. They are going to remove one tent. They informed us how long it should take to remove one tent and provide another tent.”
Sawyer said the move will not impact anyone currently staying at the shelter.
“All it means is that persons will have to move from where the tent is located, and we have already identified an area for them to go, whilst one tent is being removed to replace it with another tent,” she added.
The Category 5 storm left thousands of people displaced and hundreds missing. At least 65 people are confirmed dead, but that number is expected to climb.
In a Public Service Announcement yesterday the Department of Social Services advised that the missing person’s help desk has been deactivated.
“All inquiries should be made at the Criminal Detective Unit in New Providence and Grand Bahama, and at the Abaco Police Station located in the Government Complex in Marsh Harbour,” the announcement advised.
This come amidst uncertainty surrounding how many people remain missing as a result of the storm.
During his contribution to the disaster bill in Parliament, Social Services Minister Frankie Campbell said that the number of persons still missing stood at 1,208 – 1,003 in Abaco and 205 in Grand Bahama.
However, these numbers were contradicted by National Security Minister Marvin Dames, who said during his contribution to the debate that there were at least 30 persons missing in Grand Bahama and 252 in Abaco.
Dames has explained that that official report must come from police in order for the Coroner’s Court to issue a death certificate.
The Tribune reported that social services moved to publish an advertisement featuring the names of 1,208 missing people on October 10.
However, the newspaper reported the ad was pulled “amid confusion about the correct figures”.