photo: Esther Henry

THE BOTTOM – The Public Entity Saba received speedily funds to see to that damaged homes after hurricane Irma are renovated quickly. With strong winds from Irma, the island’s capital The Bottom and nearby village St. Johns suffered the most damaged homes.

Local contractors on Saba bid on different homes to renovate. “Based on the location of my home in St. John’s, the renovation is a very difficult task”, says one homeowner. “I currently live in another house until the renovation is complete.”

The Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations sent and subsidized building material for the reparations of the homes that were severely damaged. The cargo consisted of wood, zinc, generators along with washing machines, beds, and refrigerators.

Durable goods
In addition, the Unit of Social Affairs (SZW), also provided durable goods to families who were directly affected. For those families who lost everything, an expansion of the durable goods list included sheets, pillows, living room sets and dining room sets.

Insurance settlements were also taken into account. Homeowners who were covered by their insurance policies also got help from the Public Entity of Saba with the material.

An insured homeowner expressed, “My roof was extremely stabilized however with the strong winds, someone else’s roof damaged mine. The Public Works and Fire Department immediately cleared the debris from my home. I am lucky to still be living in my home after the massive hurricane. Being an insured home, I was given a more opinion of how my home should be rebuilt.”

Local contractors
An information meeting was held with local contractors, The Planning Bureau and homeowners, explaining the terms and conditions of the renovation project. The total renovation of eight homes – with one home funding only for materials – is currently in process. Following this meeting, contractors started visiting affected homes for evaluations and bidding on the work. Local contractors selected the best job matching their type of business along with the available staff.

The first phase is repairing roofs, which is hoping to be completed by March or April 2018, right before the new hurricane season. If there are remaining funds, phase two will continue to repair windows and doors leading to phase three, painting of the homes.