Categorized | National News

Griffin: Gov’t Must Improve Shelter Resources

A week after Hurricane Matthew devastated The Bahamas and forced thousands of persons to evacuate their homes in the midst of the storm, Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin said her department saw a great need for better assistance provided to hurricane shelters across the country.
Mrs. Griffin’s comments came while she was a guest on the JCN/Love 97 talk show Jones and Company on Sunday.
“After my team sat down and did an assessment, we came to the realization that we would like to look at better resources we provide to shelters,” she said.
“As a government, we approve shelters but sometimes these buildings do not even have generators. So once the light goes off, there is no power and there is no water and you are now presented with a problem. These persons are volunteering their places and their buildings free of charge so I believe that we should put them in a better state. Also I feel that the kit we use now in Social Services has to be upgraded,” Mrs. Griffin said.
Mrs. Griffin also responded to detractors that have criticized the government from a preparedness standpoint, their frustration being fueled by the current utilities situation that has many Bahamians still without power.
“The government actually rose to the occasion. I believe that we were well prepared of the hurricane. Everyone was contacted, the various teams in the capital and the Family Islands. NEMA, the police and Defence Force, local government all did a good job,” she said.
“We were all in touch and you could tell from the prime minister’s press conference that we had already made contact with all the Family Island administrators. As far as the shelters, as customary, we did our assessments from April to make sure that they will be utilized as shelters.”
The Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gymnasium, which was at the last minute designated as a hurricane shelter in order to accommodate the large number of persons, was the most recent to officially close its doors on Thursday.
The Social Services minister estimated that over 5,000 persons between New Providence and the Family Islands sought refuge at various shelters.
It’s estimated that about 2,000 people occupied the 22 shelters in the capital.
It is important to note that during the peak of the storm many shelters reportedly said that they were at max capacity and were unable to take in any more persons.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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