Thanks for recovery effort after Humberto

  • National heroes: the Department of Parks led the way in repairing the damage after Hurricane Humberto hit the island

    National heroes: the Department of Parks led the way in repairing the damage after Hurricane Humberto hit the island


Roads impassable? Here come the heavy equipment operators. Trees blocking your driveway? Here come the landscapers.

Roofs damaged? Here come the carpenter and masons. Phone lines down? Here come the telephone technicians. Wi-fi gone? Here come the IT workers. No power to your island? Here come the electricity workers.

One never knows when a hurricane or some other form of natural disaster will strike.

However, depending on the severity of the situation, there will undoubtedly be the need for various levels of infrastructure and housing reconstruction.

With the passing of Hurricane Humberto last week, almost every Bermudian resident was adversely affected in one way or another.

Whether it be the loss of electricity, cable TV or internet in some cases or, in more severe situations, the loss of windows, doors, walls and roofs.

Within hours of the winds and rains subsiding, the first responders, Department of Works and Engineering, the Department of Parks and the Royal Bermuda Regiment were out clearing roads of trees and other debris.

With the roads clear, it became possible for the movement of the skilled technicians and trucks of essential service utility companies such as Bermuda Telephone Company, One Communications, Digicel and Belco.

After that, trucks of all sizes, were able to clear more debris and foliage from people’s yards. These same trucks were also able to deliver concrete, wood and slate to homes in need of urgent repairs.

At homes throughout the island, masons have been hard at work to repair damaged roofs, cracked walls and replace shattered windows.

Obviously, hardware stores have had a bumper month.

Overall, in Bermuda, due in no small part to our building codes and great workmanship, we were not badly damaged in comparison with our neighbours in the Bahamas, from Hurricane Dorian earlier this month.

As it stands, about 70,000 persons are now displaced, which means that approximately 20,000 homes will have to be rebuilt in the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahamas.

Not only homes, but commercial buildings, churches, schools and a host of other structures.

Entire electrical, cable and internet grids will have to be replaced. Countless cars and boats will have to be repaired.

The Bahamas will need thousands of carpenters, plumbers, electricians, masons, and telephone and internet technicians.

Those who find themselves unemployed because of the hurricane, may wish to learn a trade as they will have many years of work available.

Most of us have never witnessed the scale of destruction brought by Hurricane Dorian.

In Dominica, the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico there was widescale damage after Hurricanes Irma and Maria in September 2017.

Unfortunately, the reality is that the Atlantic and Caribbean regions will continue to bear the brunt of climate change and warming sea temperatures.

As such, we must become climate resilient in a number of ways.

Building on low-lying coastal areas has proven to be a recipe for disaster because rising sea levels, combined with high winds, will literally wash away most structures.

Where possible, we must start building sea walls and foreshore protection.

Our building codes, especially roofing, must be upgraded to withstand winds exceeding 200 miles per hour.

In both the Bahamas and Bermuda, farmers are reporting that their entire crops have been wiped out. So we have to find additional ways to grow food indoors.

Through it all, in order to rebuild stronger and more resilient to climate change, it will take skilled tradespeople all along the way.

We must continue to impress upon our young persons that learning these skills is vital to our economic and physical survival.

The next time that you see a tradesperson, give them a hug for helping us get back to normal.

Especially, if they work for Belco and the Department of Parks.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him at WhatsApp on 599-0901 or e-mail at cfamous@plp.bm

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Published Sep 27, 2019 at 8:00 am (Updated Sep 27, 2019 at 8:13 am)

Thanks for recovery effort after Humberto

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