CDEMA to hand over operations to Bahamas government
BRIDGETOWN – The Barbados based Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), is preparing to restore key operations to the government of the Bahamas nearly four weeks after hurricane Dorian slammed the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco.
According to CDEMA’s Executive Director, Ronald Jackson, although Bahamian authorities are now “shifting gears” from emergency to recovery, several people still in need.
“There will still be continued humanitarian support driven mainly by the government. As a government, they were not devastated by the events so they remain intact and we are handing back over to the government for their continued leadership.”
Jackson, who was speaking at a press conference on Friday, during the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between CDEMA and petroleum company, SOL Caribbean, disclosed that the establishment of a new Disaster Preparedness Ministry in the Bahamas, signalled the end of CDEMA’s mission.
He added that six officials from the disaster agency remain strategically positioned in affected islands and as CDEMA’s mission ends, officials leave 1 600 in shelters on New Providence.
The population on Abaco has reduced significantly from 26 000 to 3 000 after evacuations, 2 500 of whom need continued humanitarian support.
“In Grand Bahama we still have two shelters open housing 52 people. The telecommunications infrastructure is improving through mixed means and satellite to improve communications,” he added.
All telecommunications have been restored in Abaco and 80 per cent in Grand Bahama. Water supply on Abaco is at 67 per cent and 30 per cent in Grand Bahama and officials are working feverishly to return power to the badly affected areas.
According to Jackson, CDEMA’s last situation report on the Bahamas would be filed on Friday and a detailed sector assessment would be released in the coming days to assist the regional government’s damage and loss assessment to inform the strategy for recovery.
“We at CDEMA would have provided support for that shift into recovery and reconstruction both in terms of technical advice and providing a model recovery framework for them to articulate a strategy and we will continue to provide support in the implementation process for recovery planning,” he said.
The official death toll in the Bahamas remains at 53 and the number of missing people has been reduced from 1300 to 608. (CMC)