Categorized | National News

SOCIAL SERVICES LEND A HELPING HAND

Acting Director of The Department of Social Services, Lillian Quant-Forbes spoke with The Bahama Journal concerning the protocols that are followed during a disaster.

While visiting Salina Point, Acklins, Ms. Quant-Forbes said, “We are the first responders in any emergency, speaking specifically about my social workers and the support teams that we have.

“We are responsible for shelter preparedness.  We’re also responsible for manning the shelters.  After the shelters have been filled, we’ve gotten an all clear from NEMA, then another team comes out and we do rapid assessments.”

Social Services assessments not only cover homes that have been lost due to storms, but also assist persons with counseling.  Such damages may have totally destroyed homes and this is where Social Services can observe exactly what needs to be done, then liaison with different ministries to accommodate such loss.

Ms. Quant-Forbes explains, “At this point here, we are in Acklins.  When we finish here, I should be able to have an idea of the number of homes that have been affected as a result of the hurricane; meaning the damages.  Is it severely impacted and totally destroyed.”

Once the initial assessment is complete, Ms. Quant-Forbes stated, “Once we have that information, then we are able to communicate that to the Prime Minister’s Office and t hen they would look at seeing the way forward and how much is it going to cost our country to do what needs to be done.”

Evacuated persons from the South-eastern Islands were brought to New Providence and housed at New Providence Community Center and also Kendall G. Isaacs Gymnasium before Hurricane Irma struck the Bahamas.  Ms. Quant-Forbes further explains, “The point is now while they’re there, they are being taken care of.  But, what happens to those persons whose homes were destroyed; we’re looking at now, the next level.  What is going to happen and how are we going to assist them as best as we can.”

She continues, “And then too, even for persons whose homes were not destroyed, being able to now bring them back onto the island.”

Social Services not only collaborate with NEMA during the stormy season, but they also partner with Sandilands to offer counseling. She emphasized. “To see this devastation, some persons may be overwhelmed. Being able to have different teams, health associates, as well as the social workers being able to address the concerns of the residents.  It’s a daily process and Social Services remain prepared for any changes that arise.”

Also speaking with The Bahama Journal while fact finding in Crooked Island, was Denise Williams, Welfare Officer under the ministry of Social Services.

She expounded that the residents of Crooked Island were very thankful they did not encounter the tragedy that befell them during Hurricanes Joaquin and Matthew over the last two years.

Moreover, there were minor damages to the homes; Ms. Williams also stated that Crooked Island was really prepared for Hurricane Irma.

Crooked Island had running water, electricity and full telephone service, even though thirty six persons evacuated to the shelters, a little over fifty persons evacuated off the island, but there was one hundred and seven persons remained on the island and weathered the storm, Ms. Williams told The Bahama Journal.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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