Prime Minister Perry Christie said on Wednesday the estimate for the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew in The Bahamas earlier this month is over half a billion dollars.
The government on Wednesday brought a resolution to Parliament to borrow up to $150 million to help cover the cost of relief efforts related to Matthew and Joaquin, which hit a year ago.
Speaking in the House of Assembly, Christie said Matthew caused “unmeasured personal loss” and great damage to government buildings, airport facilities and roads.
“In fact, we have a running debate between the financial secretary and myself,” Christie said.
“He is projecting that the loss to the country; the combined loss of Matthew and Joaquin, would be some $800 million.”
Christie said the ministry of finance has advised him that Joaquin, which decimated the central and southern islands last October, could cost up to $200 million.
Hurricane Matthew is estimated to have caused $500 million in damage, but could cost up to $600 million, Christie said.
The prime minister noted that the final damage assessments have not been completed.
Joaquin was originally pegged to have caused $100 million in damage.
Noting that the reconstruction efforts since Joaquin are ongoing, Christie explained that the ministry of works has awarded around $68 million in road and bridge repair contracts.
He said another $6.8 million in contracts is ready to be awarded, which would bring the cost of Joaquin to more than $70 million, without taking into account the cost of home repairs and reconstruction, repairs to seawalls, assisting the agricultural and fisheries industries, and recent tax reductions.
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