#Nassau, September 2, 2019 – Bahamas – Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell said Sunday that officials at the Department of Social Services have been placed on full alert to ensure that those Bahamians needing assistance in the aftermath of the devastation expected to be caused by the monster Hurricane Dorian, receive that assistance in a timely fashion.
Minister Campbell said DOSS officials in the Northern Bahamas, in particular, have been on full alert over the past forty-eight hours and counting. He said the team in Grand Bahama has been bolstered by the addition of 30 Recruits from the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
Minister Campbell said reports from Abaco are that all of the shelters are open and functioning, and are furnished with generators “with the understanding that those generators will not be used during the storm but rather afterwards to ensure that there won’t be any toxins that would cause any additional danger.”
“Our objective is to ensure that our people are safe, and that their basic human needs – food, shelter and clothing — are met and then we will carry on down the line,” Minister Campbell said. “Our staff has been mobilized and will put in the hours needed to ensure that those persons who sought shelter and will need assistance, get the assistance they need.”
Minister Campbell said the ministry has received offers of technical, financial and other assistance from its regional and international partners – including several regional and international women’s organizations with which the ministry has formed strong partnerships.
He said the responses will be channeled through the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).
“Fortunately we have been able to develop a number of relationships at the regional and international levels, so much so, that we now have persons contacting us during our time of need, expressing their concern, offering their prayers, and also offering tangible assistance,” Minister Campbell said.
“We will connect them with NEMA so as not to operate in silos, but to ensure that to the extent we are able, there is one route through which all assistance to The Bahamas is received and that is NEMA. If there is one agency channeling, managing and receiving those regional and international donations, it reduces the bureaucracy. It reduces the time; it reduces delay (and) it expedites the assistance being brought to the persons who really need it without any unnecessary delays,” Minister Campbell added.
Minister Campbell applauded the “yeoman’s effort” of staff at the Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development, the Department of Social Services and its other Departments, Division and Units, thus far. He said their work is just beginning.
“The mere threat of a storm propels my ministry into action. We are responsible for before, during and after a disastrous event such as a hurricane. We are a part of the inspection team for shelters to ensure that there are sufficient numbers of shelters, to ensure that there are teams in place to man the shelters and to ensure that all of the other necessary resources are in place prior to the storm.
“During the storm, our persons are there manning the shelters ensuring that all goes well, while keeping account of persons who are there, and communicating with headquarters if there is need for adjustment and also working as an Emergency Support Function of NEMA in the National Emergency Operations Centre. And then after the storm, we are there not only to assist with persons who need assistance on the road to recovery or normalcy, but to also play a key role in initial damage assessment.
“I want to thank each and every one of our team members for the yeoman’s effort they have put in so far, and for the effort it will take to ensure the road to recovery and normalcy for our affected citizens,” Minister Campbell added.
By Matt Maura
Header: Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell addressing members of the media Sunday (September 1) at the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Gladstone Road. Shelters in New Providence receiving persons are Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gym and Epworth Hall (Ebenezer Methodist Church). Shelters are open in Bimini for persons needing assistance.
Insert: Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Frankie A. Campbell checks up on members of the Social Services team pulling duty at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC), Gladstone Road, Sunday. Seated (from left) are: Mrs. Gillian Bethel, Assistant Director, Department of Social Services, and Mrs. Janice McKenzie, Senior Welfare Officer, Department of Social Services. Also pictured (standing), is Ms. Melvelyn Symonette, First Assistant Secretary, Department of Gender and Family Affairs, Ministry of Social Services and Urban Development.
(BIS Photo/Matt Maura)