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A man walks through the rubble in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Great Abaco island town of Marsh Harbour on September 2, 2019. (Photo: PBS)

Bahamas Gov’t to build more homes in Dorian-affected islands

A man walks through the rubble in the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Great Abaco island town of Marsh Harbour on September 2, 2019. (Photo: PBS)

The Government of The Bahamas has spent $11 million to assist hundreds of homeowners under the Disaster Reconstruction Authority’s (DRA) Small Home Repairs Program, following the passage of Hurrciane Dorian in 2019.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Hubert Minnis made the announcement on Friday 15 January during the handover ceremony of ‘Bahama House’ to Blackwood resident Esther Ann Cornish Laing.

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr Hubert Minnis with Blackwood resident Esther Ann Cornish Laing, who lost her house during the passage of Hurricane Dorian in 2019. Seated at right is Member of Parliament Darren Henfield.
(Photo: Bahamas Information Service)

Laing lost her home in September 2019 during the passage of the Category 5 hurricane and, as a result, Beck Foundation, the charitable arm of the Beck Group Ltd, donated the home to her.

The Beck Foundation has been involved in restoration efforts in Abaco just days after Hurricane Dorian. To date they have donated food, clothing, 40 generators, portable water supplies, and other perishable goods.

According to the prime minister, the Government is grateful for the generous assistance of the private sector and non-profits. “Such generosity is a part of a much broader and larger home rebuilding and housing programme funded and led by the Government of The Bahamas,” he said.

Since its genesis, the Government-backed DRA has provided 150 temporary housing domes on Abaco and the Cays, and 20 homes for families at Sweeting’s Cay and East Grand Bahama, Minnis also shared.

So far, the Government has identified two 60-acre sites in Spring City and Wilson City, Abaco, for the construction of permanent housing through a public-private partnership with the Discovery Land Company. Currently, 46 homes are being developed and will be given to 46 families, the prime minister added.

Bahama House, the dwelling place Beck Foundation donated to Esther Ann Cornish Laing of Blackwood in Abaco.
(Photo: Bahamas Information Service)

In addition, Minnis said his Government is committed to repairing and providing logistical support to 250 homes in Cooper’s Town, Blackwood and Fire Road in Abaco. “We still have a long road ahead. But along this road of rebuilding and recovery will be newly restored and new homes for Bahamians,” he explained.

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Laing’s home is custom-designed specifically for The Bahamas, which experiences frequent hurricanes, and will reflect the best elements of Bahamian architecture, Prime Minister Minnis shared.  

“This home was built for resilience as we continue to rebuild Abaco and parts of Grand Bahama in the midst of the great challenge of climate change,” he further outlined

The 1,250-square-foot home has been wind-tested to withstand a Category 5 hurricane. It was built by the Beck Group in Dallas, Texas, at Factory Blue and then transported from the US to Marsh Harbour. The house was installed in Blackwood by SAGOMA Construction.

Bahama House represents the quality and kinds of corporate and non-profit partnerships which are helping to redevelop and to revitalise Abaco after the worst natural disaster in Bahamian history.
(Photo: Bahamas Information Service)

The total value of the house, including furnishing, fixtures and equipment is approximately BS$180,000.

“Bahama House represents the quality and kinds of corporate and non-profit partnerships which are helping to redevelop and to revitalize Abaco after the worst natural disaster in Bahamian history,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

“As I noted in the immediate aftermath of Dorian, the unprecedented nature and magnitude of the Hurricane required public/private collaboration and partnerships between The Bahamas and other governments and international agencies.”