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MOEH Report: Insufficient manpower, more than 900 workers needed for storm-debris removal

NASSAU, BAHAMAS – The Ministry of Environment and Housing estimates more than 600 people will be needed to execute its Debris Management Plan (DMP) to clear hurricane-ravaged islands.

Prepared by Ministry of the Environment and Housing Senior Deputy Director Thomasina Wilson, the report notes Abaco and Grand Bahama do not have enough qualified personnel to execute debris removal due to the scale of Hurricane Dorian’s impact.

Debris and resource estimating models peg the total number of debris collection personnel required in Grand Bahama at 680; with debris segregation personnel at 400; and 107 debris monitors.

The report indicates 365 debris crew personnel will be needed for Abaco; with 214 debris segregation; and 60 debris monitors.

“Given the scale of this mission, the affected island do not have enough currently qualified personnel to perform the project,” the report read.

“Government should consider an experienced debris contractor with a record of hiring and training local personnel in positions such as equipment operators, quality control managers, safety officers, mechanics, project superintendents and many others.

“The goal is to hire residents to inject dollars back into the local economy while training them for future reconstruction projects and disaster resiliency.”

The 62-page report, obtained by Eyewitness News Online, is dated November 12, 2019.

Wilson has been identified as debris mission manager, and cleanup has already begun in the shantytowns in Abaco.

The plan strategizes for the massive debris mission resulting from Hurricane Dorian and “provides a framework for organizing the rapid, safe and cost effective separation, removal, recycling and disposal of disaster generated debris resulting from Hurricane Dorian; and minimizing debris generated threats to public health, safety, the environment and the economic recovery of the affected areas”.

According to the report, there is an estimated 1.09 million cubic yards of debris in Abaco and 2.06 million cubic yards of debris in Grand Bahama.

The department has established a timeline of 180 days to the total removal of debris.

The report said after segmenting the debris management process, government can identify numerous job opportunities for direct hire of local residents and Bahamian small business,” the report said.

The job opportunities outlined include debris monitor, debris segregation crew, equipment operator, foreman, quality control manager.

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