Six months to remove storm debris on Abaco, GB

Six months to remove storm debris on Abaco, GB
Debris cleanup of the Mudd in Abaco following Hurricane Dorian. (file photo)

Govt. plans to repurpose debris collected 

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Ministry of the Environment and Housing estimates it will take about six months to complete the total removal of storm debris on Grand Bahama and Abaco.

The ministry’s Debris Management Plan, dated November 12, 2019, indicates “the department has established the operational timeline for each phase of work and total debris mission duration of 180 days”.

According to the report, the start time is determined by the number of days after notice to proceed is given by the debris mission manager — the Ministry of the Environment and Housing Senior Deputy Director Thomasina Wilson — to begin immediate implementation of the plan.

The report advises that there is an estimated 1.09 million cubic yards of debris in the Abaco districts — over 24,500 cubic yards in Grand Cay; 242,237 cubic yards in North Abaco; 38,210 cubic yards in Green Turtle Cay; 590,567 cubic yards in Central Abaco; 119,898 cubic yards in South Abaco; nearly 40,000 cubic yards of debris in Moore’s Island and 44,376 cubic yards of debris in Hope Town.

Another 2.09 million cubic yards of debris is estimated to be in Grand Bahama.

Cleanup has already begun in the shantytowns in Abaco.

In late September, the government signed contracts with four contractors for the cleanup of the shantytowns on the island.

The report provides a specific timeline for the scope of works.

For example, the identification of the prime contractor is expected to take five days once the debris management plan is implemented. The mobilization of debris removal equipment and mobilization of life support and base camp is expected to take eight days, the report notes.

Construction of debris management sites, hiring of local residents for debris operation is expected to take 10 days, and the removal operations in Grand Bahama and the 16 identified zones in Abaco are expected to take between 14 and 21 days.

Debris reduction operations in the affected island is projected to take between 30 and 40 days, while disposal operations is foreshadowed to take 90 days.

According to the report, it will take an estimated 130 days for the completion of debris removal operations; 150 days for the completion of debris reduction operations and 180 days for the completion of debris disposal operations.

The report also notes that the United Nations Developmental program plays a crucial role in the long-term recovery of the affected communities and providing manpower for debris removal operations.

“Specifically, UNDP provides a cash for work program to help fund certain debris operations by hiring local personnel and allowing them to take control of their long-term recovery,” the report said.

“This cash for work program could be used for debris segregation crews and private property debris removal to move debris from private property out to the public roadside.

“This would provide a valuable cost savings to the government while removing government from a comprehensive right of entry program with displaced residents.”

The report noted while Abaco and Grand Bahama may re-establish life support services within a matter of months, outer islands may not be in the same position. It said government will have to consider base camps for mission personnel to sustain long-term debris operations.

“The debris monitoring plan represents one of two critical phases of the cost tracking process aimed at instituting stringent quality control mechanisms to ensure eligibility of individual costs,” the report said.

“The department stands in a unique and difficult position trying to maximize limited resources to expedite the long-term recovery of the affected areas.

It read: “However, as established herein, the department can effectively plan for and institute a debris monitoring plan that ensure costing is accurate while maximizing personnel resources.”