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Domes will be in place for at least three years

The Nassau Guardian October 11, 2019 Rachel Knowles

Domes to house residents who lost their homes on Abaco during Hurricane Dorian could be in place for over three years, Disaster Relief and Reconstruction Committee Chairman John Michael Clarke said yesterday.

Clarke said the domes were selected for their ability to withstand future storms.

“It is meant to be temporary,” Clarke said at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) headquarters.

“…So in terms of time frame, that temporary has not been defined, but it is not indefinite.”

He added, “The recovery will last maybe two to three years or more.

“So, the challenge for us was to find a very, very resilient structure.

“If we use a tent, the best tent structure that we were able to find was able to withstand forces of 85 mph (miles per hour) to 100 mph. What that meant was if another storm were to come through, we would have to evacuate the tents. So, we settled on the dome structure because it’s a resilient structure and that particular structure can take up to 180 mph winds with gusts up to 200 mph, according to the manufacturer.”

The temporary housing project, which Clarke referred to as the Family Relief Site, will be located next to the Spring City subdivision on Abaco and will cost about $6.4 million.

He said each dome can accommodate between four and five people, and the government plans to have 250 domes on the site. The site will include plumbing, drainage, a sewer system and electricity.

Clarke said the materials for the site where the domes will be housed will arrive next Wednesday, and installation will begin the day after.

The government is also planning to house government employees who return to Abaco in 100 recreational vehicles (RVs) that will begin arriving on Tuesday. Clarke said the trailers will be set up on the grounds of public schools on Abaco.

“Each one of the RVs can house between three to four public servants,” he said.

“When they are all on the ground, it is anticipated that between 300 and 400 government workers can utilize these trailers.

“And when we say all agencies, we mean all agencies.

“…The idea is to get the government up and running again in Abaco as soon as possible.

“The RVs will be housed on the fields of the public schools, the primary school and the high school, and, of course, we will have the necessary security.”

NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell said getting the government functioning on the island again has been a great challenge.

“We are trying to get government workers back onto the island as well to get the functions of government back in operation as we move forward,” he said.

“Right now we have teams from NEMA comprised of various agencies. They are in an operation center in Abaco trying to work with locals in the community to get government employees and the government organizations functioning as they should in Abaco. That is the challenge that we’re having or we’ve been having, and we’re trying to improve on it as we go along.”

Dorian leveled parts of Abaco and Grand Bahama after it made landfall as the strongest storm on record to hit The Bahamas.

With sustained winds up to 185 miles per hour and gusts over 220 miles per hour, as well as storm surges in excess of 20 feet, Dorian left thousands homeless.

Marsh Harbour, Abaco’s capital and center of commerce, was decimated. Hundreds of storm survivors remain in shelters on New Providence. Thousands of others are scattered across and outside of the country.

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