Domes unveiled to house 1,000 people in Abaco


A look inside the dome structure.


Tribune Staff Reporter

THE family centre relief site in Abaco that will feature dome housing structures capable of withstanding 180mph to 200mph winds will accommodate 250 domes and about 1,000 people, according to co-chair of disaster and reconstruction committee, John-Michael Clarke.

Speaking to reporters during a NEMA press conference yesterday, Mr Clarke said the first shipment of domes will arrive next week.

He said: "Each dome is 20 feet in diameter, it's 12 feet high and each dome can accommodate up to four to five persons. …the family relief site is located just next to the Spring City subdivision in Abaco.

"The site has already been cleared and the infrastructure for the site and the materials for the infrastructure of the site will be down on Wednesday the 16th and we will start to install the infrastructure next week Thursday the 17th. …over the next five weeks we will be getting dome shipments every week until the site is fully built up."

He added: "The reason the dome structure was chosen is one, we are very early in the hurricane season and two if you look at the level of devastation in Abaco, the recovery will last maybe two or three years or more. We settled on the dome structure because it's a resilient structure."

When asked for a timeline for the people staying in the domes, he said the Department of Social Services along with government policy makers are going to determine the protocols for the persons who actually go into the family relief centre.

"It is meant to be temporary; all of the discussions about establishing the family relief centre at the particular juncture is that the centre is meant to be temporary. In terms of timeframe that temporary has not been defined but it's not definite," he explained.

Mr Clarke said by next week Tuesday the first shipment of 100 recreational vehicles (RVs) will arrive in Abaco to house government employees.

"These are currently being loaded in the port of Palm Beach. Each one of the RVs can house between three to four public servants. When they are all on the ground it's anticipated between 300 and 400 government workers can utilise these trailers," he noted.

"When we say all agencies, we mean all agencies, so we had meetings this week and we have tasked the agencies with giving us these staff complement. The idea is to get the government up and running again in Abaco as soon as possible."

He added: "The RVs will be housed on the fields of the public schools, primary school and the high schools. Of course, they'll have the necessary security, each RV will have its own, these will be outfitted with furniture already and appliances. They would have their own water and waste supply."

To date, there are 895 persons in eight shelters in New Providence, according to Deputy Director of Social Services Kim Sawyer. She also said the shelters in Grand Bahama and Abaco were deactivated; along with the All Saints shelter.

She said: "Those persons from the All Saints were moved to the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium. Today we will deactivate the Fox Hill Centre and there are 120 persons in that shelter, and they will be moved to the Kendal Isaacs Gymnasium.

"Tomorrow, which is October 11, we will deactivate the shelter at the Pilgrim Baptist Church and those 47 persons will be moved to the Kendal G L Isaacs Gymnasium. To date we have 310 persons in the main gym, 58 in tent A and 62 in tent B and we will consolidate those and move those into the gym to accommodate persons being moved from the other shelters."

Captain Stephen Russel, NEMA director, said the agency's key concern in Abaco and Grand Bahama is to continue the clean-up operations in those districts that would have been impacted.

Capt Russell said: "A number of contracts would have been awarded to persons to help with that clean-up operations in Abaco and Grand Bahama as mentioned. As they go through the clean-up operation their always mindful that we are still in the search and recovery mode for deceased persons that maybe in the rubble that are in those areas.

"They are employing a layer by layer approach in moving the debris and to make sure that when they get to the bottom of there any deceased persons that maybe there are removed with decency and order."

Capt Russell also said some $5m in donations were made into NEMA's accounts from local, regional and international partners.

He said: "Right now we have tons and tons of food supplies in warehouses in Florida, New Providence, Abaco and Grand Bahama so we are doing very well with food and water supplies."