No plan for Farm shantytown residents five months after Dorian

No plan for Farm shantytown residents five months after Dorian
Rihanna Nervillien's five-year-old sister Diamond Delhomme stands amidst rubble in The Farm shantytown. Her family lives in Farm Road. (FILE PHOTO November 11, 2019)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The government is still struggling to begin cleanup efforts in the Farm shantytown on Abaco.

Minister of State for Disaster Management Iram Lewis yesterday said some 75 families still remain in the area in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian.

“We still have the issue,” Lewis told reporters outside Cabinet.

“Persons are still there. But again, we are making efforts to have that area cleaned and to ensure that whatever is rebuilt there is done properly – if we are to rebuild there.

“There will be some no-build zones declared, as was stated by the Director of Works yesterday, and we will make that clear.

“And there will be some restrictive zones because of course we have to see how we can minimize our exposure to risk and having those facilities rebuilt in those areas to the same standard, it increases our risk and will add more to whatever catastrophe we will be faced with.”

The government has not yet indicated how it plans to remove those residents from the property or where they would be placed.

Lewis has previously urged those residents to leave the grounds and register with social services to receive assistance – noting the government will find a way for those with the necessary paperwork.

Dorian pounded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama between September 1-3, claiming the lives of a confirmed 70 people — and displacing thousands, many of whom resided in shantytown communities in Abaco.

The Category 5 storm destroyed the two largest of the six shantytowns on the island – The Mudd and the Peas.

Following the storm, the government issued a cease order with immediate effect for The Mudd, The Peas, Sandbanks and The Farm in order to prevent anyone from building or developing in those communities.

Several contractors were commissioned to clear down the debris from the shantytowns and inspect for corpses.

Lewis said yesterday that the Peas has been completed cleared and the Mudd is about 80 percent to 90 percent complete.

He added that those areas will be fences off and the government will make an announcement as to what the land will be used for.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has said the government will consider making those areas memorial sites, “in honor of those who would’ve died.”