Published on February 18, 2014
Shantytown in the Bahamas Burns Down, Leaves Residents Homeless By Stephen Eric Lawrence
Introduction • A dedicated humanitarian, Stephen Eric Lawrence has long provided support for Bahamians in need. The Nassau resident heads the Lawrence Family Foundation, a philanthropic organization dedicated to alleviating homelessness and improving local communities. Stephen Eric Lawrence also volunteers with several soup kitchens and has funded shelters for senior citizens.
About the Fire • Late on New Year's Eve, 2013, a fire broke out in a shantytown located in Marsh Harbour on Great Abaco Island, which is north of Nassau in the Bahamas. Officials reported that the fire killed two people and destroyed approximately 50 homes, leaving many residents without shelter. Since the economic downturn and the 2010 earthquake that ravaged Haiti, shantytowns have popped up across the island nation, with Haitian migrants as well as permanent residents constituting the occupants. The recent fire is not the first time that a shantytown in the Bahamas has been destroyed by a blaze; in 2011, a community southwest of New Providence caught fire and left almost 700 people without homes.
Conclusion • According to official reports, these poorly constructed communities also lack proper sanitation facilities, clean water, and stable dwellings. Over the last two years, the government has made a more concerted effort to provide suitable housing and discourage shantytown living.
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