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300 Missing from Predominantly Haitian-Bahamian Shantytowns

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Staff

309 persons from the six shantytowns across the Abaco Islands and Marsh Harbor are considered missing according to an interim assessment by officials of the newly formed United Haitian Community Front.

The organization composed of religious leaders, human rights organizations, the League of Pastors and Bahamas Rights, reported that families from The Mudd community were the most affected. They also said that they continue to receive names of persons that have not been located since the passage of Hurricane Dorian and forwarding the numbers ot the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

A December 2018 census of the Haitian population living in the shantytowns, Sand Banks, Farm Road, L and H at Treasure Cay, The Mudd, Pigeon Peas and Elbow Cay, indicated that 3,041 persons of Haitian origin resided in these sites. The figures published in the report Abaco Shantyown reports The Mudd as being the most populated accounting for 1,563 persons, 51.4% of the population in these communities.

The population in The Mudd is followed by Pigeon Peas, 578 persons, 19%. These two shantytowns of Marsh Harbor have been completely shaved from the map by the category 5 hurricane.

Many Haitians in the Bahamas expressed concern about discrimination against their compatriots in the relief process on social media. Berea Seventh-Day Adventist Church Pastor Edward St. Fleur said, "Personally, I have not seen that in the places I visited (social services and hospitals) the reception of Haitians was very cordial and I must congratulate the staff of these institutions, they do a fantastic job."

"Many, especially the children, have been traumatized," said Mr. St. Fleur. "We have an organization that’s ready to assist us in providing counseling, either one-to-one or group counseling so that we can help them to debrief, to get into the proper mind frame to continue their education, that’s for the children, and, of course, (to assist) the parents."

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