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Fire in shanty town leaves hundreds homeless

regionalshantytownfiresceneNASSAU — A fire that destroyed at least 30 homes in a Haitian shantytown off Joe Farrington Road on Monday night left 121 people homeless, 36 of whom are under the age of 17, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

NEMA said a team comprising personnel from that agency, the Department of Social Services and the Bahamas Red Cross walked through the area to conduct an initial assessment and determine how many people need assistance.

An estimated 400 people live in the community, NEMA said.

“The Great Commission Ministries are providing hot meals for the victims,” it said in a statement.

“The Salvation Army will provide clothing and non-perishable items, the Department of Social Services will provide accommodations for the women and children and the Bahamas Red Cross donated bedding and toiletries.”

When The Nassau Guardian visited the scene yesterday residents were busy sifting through the smoldering rubble in an attempt to salvage what they could.

As residents and firefighters cleaned up, many children wore hard hats as they played in the debris.

Natasha Prince Thompson, 28, who lived in the community for six years, said she lost everything in the fire except her important documents.

“I can’t find anything,” she said.

“I slept by my sister last night.

“I can’t tell you what happens now. I just want some place I can live with my daughter.”

Jocelyn Simeon said he was inside his home with his daughter and girlfriend on Monday night when he heard screams from outside.

“When I went outside I saw a house on fire so we grabbed some buckets to try and control the fire,” he said.

“When I saw I couldn’t get the fire under control I called firefighters and they were able to control it.

“Right now we’re calling on the government for assistance because we need it.”

Residents registered with the government for aid at a tiny church on the property yesterday.

Director of Fire Services, Superintendent Walter Evans, said no death or serious injuries were reported. (Nassau Guardian)

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