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Gov’t working to locate more J’cans in Dorian-hit Bahamas

Published:Saturday | September 14, 2019 | 12:00 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Trevon Laing walks on the roof of his house on Thursday to repair the damage done by Hurricane Dorian in Gold Rock Creek, Grand Bahama, The Bahamas.
In this September 11 photo, a shattered and water-filled coffin lays exposed to the elements in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian at the cemetery in Mclean’s Town, Grand Bahama, in The Bahamas. Bahamians are tackling a massive clean-up a week after Hurricane Dorian devastated the archipelago’s northern islands.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith has revealed that 48 Jamaicans have sought the ministry’s assistance in locating relatives in the Hurricane Dorian-hit Bahamas.

Already, some of them have been located.

“Efforts to locate others are ongoing. Our honorary consul in Nassau, Terrel Butler, has been working night and day, closely monitoring and helping to identify those whose families or friends have contacted us,” Johnson Smith said yesterday. “As at this week, she provided a list of 32 nationals known to have been evacuated from the affected areas.”

There are more than 3,500 Jamaicans residing in the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, which took the brunt of the battering from the Category Five hurricane last week.

Johnson Smith said that a Jamaican has opened a temporary facility in Nassau for persons needing assistance. A total of 21 people, including children, are being accommodated, and Jamaican doctors have made themselves available to assist.

Jamaicans who have still been unable to make contact with family members can call the Consular Affairs Department in the ministry at 876-472-3584. They may also send WhatsApp messages with pictures, which are particularly helpful in the process.

On Wednesday, the Bahamas government said that there were 2,500 people on a list of persons reported missing since Dorian’s passage. By Thursday, the number had fallen to 1,200.

In its daily statistics issued yesterday, the Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency said that checks are still ongoing.

Insurance payout

Meanwhile, the Caribbean Catastrophe Risk Insurance Facility (CCRIF) has indicated that it would pay out just under US$11 million to The Bahamas.

The Bahamas has three tropical cyclone policies with the CCRIF and the North West Zone, which covers the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama, was triggered.

The payment is usually issued within 14 days of the disaster, but the government will receive an advance payment of 50 per cent to address their most pressing needs.

Yesterday, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres had a joint press briefing with Prime Minister Hubert Minnis in Nassau to express solidarity with the people of The Bahamas.

“I hope the weather will allow me to travel shortly to see the impact for myself and to assess what more we can do,” Guterres said.

He added that the damage is estimated to be in the billions and reflects the need for investment in climate-change resilience.

Guterres said that the representatives of the UN humanitarian agencies who arrived in the immediate aftermath of the hurricane are still in the country, supporting the efforts of the government.

As the nation recovers, Minnis said that counselling would be offered to those experiencing trauma and that a national prayer service would also be held, along with a national day of mourning.

Up to yesterday, the official death toll stood at 52.