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Saturday, September 7th, 2019

 

Govt CDF kitty safe from boundaries review impact

This week, National Government Constituency Development Fund acting Chief Executive Officer Yusuf Mbuno responds to your questions.

1. Next year, the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) is set to review boundaries of all electoral wards and constituencies in Kenya. A section of Kenyans want some constituencies abolished and others merged to save on public spending on MPs and other benefits. How will such a review impact on constituency fund? Dan Murugu, Nakuru

The National Government Constituencies Development Fund (NG-CDF) comprises all monies of an amount not less than 2.5 per cent of all the national government share of revenue as determined by the Annual Division of Revenue Act.

It additionally includes any monies accruing or received by the NG-CDF Board from any other source.

The kitty is protected by the law to ensure that monies appropriated to the fund in any one financial year do not fall below the amount appropriated in the preceding financial year.

The change in the number of constituencies will not result in reduction of the allocation to the fund.

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However, the annual allocation to each constituency will change depending on the number of constituencies.

In terms of allowances to MPs, they are remunerated from the Parliamentary Service Commission.

2. Sometimes in 2018, NG-CDF embarked on a journey to audit abandoned CDF projects. What were the findings of the exercise? Jerusha Keino, Belgut

The promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, whose full implementation commenced in 2013, necessitated the review of the law governing the fund (then CDF Act 2003) to conform to the supreme law of the land.

In particular, the Fourth Schedule of the Constitution clearly distributes functions between the national and county governments.

In this regard, the National Government CDF Act enacted 2015 as amended in 2016 clearly specifies that eligible projects under the fund are only those in respect to works and services falling within the functions of the national government under the Constitution.

Further, the projects must be community-based in order to ensure that the benefits are available to a majority of the inhabitants of a particular area.

This meant that from February 2016, the board stopped approving constituency project proposals falling under devolved functions.

This presented a challenge on how to treat uncompleted projects falling under county government functions, such as water, health and county roads.

The board embarked on a data collection exercise to identify incomplete devolved projects, including the outstanding works and the estimated cost of completion to facilitate consultation with pertinent agencies on the appropriate measures to implement the projects lawfully. The information analysis is ongoing.

3. Public involvement in CDF projects has been low and the major cause is lack of information on how CDF projects are identified and prioritised before funding. What are you doing to strengthen citizens’ participation? Raphael Obonyo, Nairobi

Section 27 of the NG-CDF Act requires the chairperson of the CDC to at least once in every two years convene open public forums in every ward to deliberate on development matters.

This forms the basis of the project proposals prioritised annually by each CDC and submitted to the National Board for approval.

Further, the board requires constituencies to use the information to develop a five-year Constituency Strategic Plan, in order to ensure that development projects reflect the will of the people.

The role of the EDC is to collate, analyse and rank the peoples priorities and link them to the County Integrated Development Plan and the national development agenda as outlined in five-year Medium Term Plan of Vision 2030.

The role of the MP in the fund is representation, legislation and oversight.

Specifically, Section 53 of NG-CDF Act establishes the Constituency Oversight Committee where the area MP with four other persons drawn from the constituency mobilise and sensitise wananchi on matters related to the fund, including soliciting views, opinions and proposals for presentation to the national assembly to inform legislation.

The board has prioritised information dissemination to sensitise wananchi on their roles with a view to strengthening their participation.

4. I understand that CDF money cannot be used for water projects these days. As such, we have a half-done water project in Mwimuto, Kabete Constituency. Can something be done to have such unfinished projects completed? Githuku Mungai

As already stated, the board is in the conclusive stage of analysing information gathered from the field to facilitate completion of ongoing projects falling under devolved functions. Mwimuto water project in Kabete Constituency falls under this category.

5. A good chunk of the CDF funds goes to financing bursary support to needy students, which I fully support. Is there a ceiling as to how much can be spent on bursaries? Githuku Mungai

The maximum amount that a constituency can allocate for education bursary is 35 per cent of its total annual allocation.

However, the amount granted to a particular student is determined by the NG-CDF committee based on the financial needs of each applicant, the number of deserving applicants and resources set aside for bursaries by each constituency.

6. Currently, allocation of funds to constituencies is largely based on the size of a constituency with little consideration for population. There have been proposals to give population prominence in the allocation of funds. What is your take on this? Bruce Wanyonyi, Nakuru

The annual budget ceiling for each constituency is determined by the board pursuant to Section 6 of the Act, based on the criterion of equal share to each of the 290 constituencies after deducting the budgetary allocation to the board as provided for in section 23 (1).

However, the board has received proposals to review the criterion of equal share to take into consideration constituencies’ peculiarities such as land size, population, poverty index, number of electoral wards, and other socioeconomic parameters in order to enhance equity.

The proposals are being considered with a view to making necessary recommendations to the National Assembly’s Select Committee on NG-CDF.

7. When the CDF kitty was introduced in 2003, constituencies started realising some development. However, the same has been abused in most of constituencies. I would like to know if you are aware of the massive corruption at Kimilili CDF, whereby purported bursary beneficiaries’ names were pinned on the notice board indicating the amount of money they had been awarded in the past financial year yet the money was never sent to schools. In such a case, what is the intervention? Edward B. Wekesa, Kimilili

True, the advent of NG-CDF revolutionised development in various parts of the country by empowering the communities to identify and implement projects that address local problems.

The board recognises corruption as a major development challenge.

It is for this reason that the board has integrated corruption prevention and retribution in its programmes.

We encourage any person with information that can help in deterring corruption to share it with the board or relevant government agencies.

On the Kimilili case, the affected persons are advised to share specific information with the board to facilitate necessary action.

8. One of the likely motivations that swayed Kenyans to endorse the 2010 Constitution was the success witnessed with CDF. Devolution was to further this but unfortunately it has had more than enough challenges even as CDF grows from strength to strength. Sir, what has been the secret on the management NG-CDF in delivering its mandate? Are these structures and strategies sustainable? Komen Moris, Eldoret

True, NG-CDF played a big role in demonstrating gains that may accrue from decentralising resources to the grass roots.

One of the lessons learnt from NG-CDF is that wananchi are capable of managing and accounting for public resources while implementing projects in a cost-effective way.

By decentralising responsibility to the people, accountability and transparency is enhanced.

The NG-CDF model enhances efficiency in the utilisation of scarce resources by accommodating community friendly project implementation approaches.

9. Under what circumstances would a government official sit in the meetings of the Project Management Committees (PMCs)? Charles Kironji

As provided for in Section 41(2) of the NG-CDF Act, a community is required to maintain an elected committee to represent its interests during and after implementation of the project.

Section 36 on the other hand says that projects under the Act are implemented by PMCs assisted by relevant departments of government.

The role of government officers is to provide technical guidance to the PMCs in order to ensure compliance with technical specifications and policy requirements.

The government officers may sit in the PMC meeting as ex-officio participants, by virtue of their positions.

10. What is the composition of the PMC? What process ought to be followed to seal any loopholes for favouritism in selection of PMC members? Charles Kironji

The PMC is constituted by the community to represent that community during and after project implementation as provided for in section 41(2) of the Act.

Implementation of projects through PMC therefore ensures community involvement and sustainability of the project.

As a community organ, the PMC should adhere to its constitution to regulate its operations subject to Regulations 15, 16, 17 and 18.

Regulation 16(1) specifically gives guidance on the composition of PMCs, clearly stating that where a project is implemented in an existing institution, the management committee of that institution shall serve as the PMC.

Regulation 16(3) on the other hand sets the PMC membership at a maximum of 5, the composition of which shall observe the two-thirds gender rule.

11 Year-in, year-out we read media reports about cases of corruption involving funds meant for constituency development. How is corruption affecting the fund and what measures do you have in place to tame the vice? Francis Njuguna, Kibichoi

The management of NG-CDF programme is generally good, as demonstrated by the fact that 66 per cent of the Auditor General’s reports for the 290 constituencies fall between the categories of unqualified and qualified opinion, with much fewer constituencies falling in the categories of adverse and disclaimer opinions.

Further, going by the feedback received from wananchi, the NG-CDF projects implemented across the country are a great success.

It is important that we also highlight success stories which actually outweigh the challenges.


Robert Mugabe: Liberator’s tag blemished by a despot’s legacy

CHRIS ERASMUSBy CHRIS ERASMUS
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The Zimbabwe that Robert Mugabe came to lead had every chance of being one of Africa’s richest post-colonial gems but became an economic basket case instead.

Some of the millions who form part of the Zimbabwean diaspora say there is little to be proud of beyond Mugabe’s fight for independence.

JAILED AND KILLED

Even as Mugabe was fighting a losing battle against ill health, Zimbabweans were dealing with yet another economic slide – part of a process which began as a direct consequence of his heavy-handed misrule.

Gideon Chitanga, a political analyst summed up pithily: “Mugabe was a liberation hero-turned dictator.”

The view from South Africa where many of the three million Zimbabweans who fled the country struggle to make ends meet, is no different.

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Enoch, a university-educated Zimbabwean who has been in South Africa since Mugabe’s repression of the Movement for Democratic Change, said he was not sorry to hear of the death, adding, “pity it took so long”.

“Okay, so Mugabe was part of the liberation struggle. But he ran the country to the ground. When he got into trouble with the people, he began to do crazy things like encouraging the ex-combatants – most being far too young to have fought in the war – to take over white farms. That chaos destroyed the economy,” Enoch, who is a waiter in Cape Town and has no intention of returning to Zimbabwe, said.

“From 2000 onwards, Mugabe lost legitimacy. There were those who supported him, but we knew he was messing.”

“Then he stole the elections in 2002 and 2008, with many beaten, killed and jailed. That’s when most of us knew he would likely stay in power until he died.”

20,000 PEOPLE

“I was also dancing in the streets when he was thrown out in 2017 but there’ll be no dancing tonight. It’s too late for that.”

Growing up mid-20th century in colonial Rhodesia, there was no sense of an alternative to white minority rule for black or white youngsters.

Despite 80 years of direct colonial rule from London and then white minority regime, the mineral  and agriculturally-rich country has never been riven with racial hatred – as was South Africa, despite a similar history. Even at the height of the liberation war of the 1970s, race relations in Zimbabwe were surprisingly cordial.

While the Matabele were always feisty, their spirit was destroyed along with many hundreds of villages during the repression imposed by Mugabe and his North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade in the early 1980s.

Some 20,000 people are believed to have been killed during the insurrection by loyalists of Joshua Nkomo’s Zimbabwe African People’s Union and then in a general assault on mainly Matabeles.

“I have met many people who were arrested and beaten or threatened or members of their families were killed, all by Mugabe’s thugs.  How can we remember Mugabe as a hero?” Enoch asked. “Mnangagwa is saying Mugabe was a hero. That was a long time ago.”

DARK STAIN

Amu Gula Ndebele, another exiled Zimbabwean, said whatever his liberation credentials, Mugabe failed the country once he was president.

“Mugabe, or those arguing for him, cannot make the excuse that external forces were responsible for what happened under his rule,” he said.

Another Zimbabwean was severe in his assessment.

“He never got justice. It would have been much better if he had died in prison,” the man who did not want to be named said.

At the local beer hall where many Zimbabweans and other foreigners gather on weekends to drink and watch sport, mainly soccer, on a large-screen TV, the view is much the same.

Mugabe may have been a liberation hero once, a long time ago, but since then he had done so much that ordinary Zimbabweans in exile consider “evil” that he could never be admired, nor shall his memory be carried forward without the dark stain of his ruthless inhumanity to any and all opponents.


Nyamira MCA Fred Omaiyo arrested over defilement claim

RUTH MBULABy RUTH MBULA
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Police in Nyamira on Saturday morning arrested a local politician over an allegation of defilement. 

Magwagwa Ward Representative Fred Nyachae Omaiyo is accused of defiling a 17-year-old girl, Nyamira County Commissioner Amos Mariba said.

FORM FOUR STUDENT

The girl, who is a Form Four student in a Kisumu school, went missing a few days ago, but showed up claiming that she had been abducted, the commissioner said.

“The girl’s mother had reported at Ekerenyo Police Station that her daughter was missing.

“But the girl later showed up claiming she had been abducted and detained by the said MCA at a Kisii hotel,” Mr Mariba said.

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The girl was examined at Ekerenyo Sub-County Hospital.

Mr Mariba said Mr Omaiyo is in police custody and will be arraigned on Monday.

Mr Omaiyo is not new to controversy.

In January this year, he was arrested for disrupting a meeting convened by his colleagues in Kisumu.


Facebook launches dating service for US

AFPBy AFP
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Facebook has rolled out its online dating service for the United States, a move taking on rivals such as smartphone app Tinder.

The free “Facebook Dating” site which was announced last year and already available in other countries will allow users to link their Facebook and Instagram post to a separate dating profile.

It will seek to facilitate connections among the more than two billion users of the social network worldwide.

“Facebook Dating allows you to match with friends of friends and/or people not in your friend circle,” said a blog post from Nathan Sharp, head of the project.

One of the features, “secret crush” which allows people to connect if they both secretly express interest in each other.

“Facebook Dating won’t match you with friends, unless you choose to use Secret Crush and you both add each other to your list,” Sharp said.

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“Finding a romantic partner is deeply personal, which is why we built Dating to be safe, inclusive and opt-in. Safety, security and privacy are at the forefront of this product.”

Sharp said users will have the ability to report and block anyone, and prohibit people from sending photos, links, payments or videos in messages.

Users may share their “stories” posts from the network, which are short video segments, which will help the service be “authentic in a way that a typical dating profile can’t,” according to Sharp.

Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, in announcing the plan last year, said it was being designed for “real, long-term relationships, not just hookups.”

He pointed out that one in three marriages in the United States start online and that some 200 million Facebook users identify as being single.

Facebook may have an advantage over rivals in that it can allow people to share profiles and images from their social media profiles.

The dating service will be free to users, unlike some rivals which offer both free and paid plans.

Facebook Dating has already been launched in 19 countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Laos, Malaysia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the Philippines, Singapore, Surinam, Thailand, Uruguay and Vietnam.

It is set to launch in Europe in 2020.


American mother shoots daughter by mistake

AFPBy AFP
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WASHINGTON 

An American woman shot and wounded her 18-year-old daughter when she showed up to pay a surprise visit and the mother thought there was an intruder in the house, reports said Wednesday.

The girl, coming home from college for an unannounced visit, was hit in the arm but will survive Friday’s incident in Girard, Ohio, local TV station WFMJ said.

The mother had a licensed .38 Special revolver and was home alone when she heard noise coming from the kitchen or hallway, police chief John Norman told the station.

“She stated that the bedroom door opened where she was at — and she had a gun readily available and fired a round at someone coming through the door,” said Norman.

The mother was shocked to learn she had shot her daughter, said Norman.

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A local district attorney will decide if charges are brought, he said.

Gun possession, permitted under the Second Amendment to the US constitution, is widespread in the US.

Around 40,000 people died from gunfire in 2017, according to government figures.

The Gun Violence Archive monitoring group says there have been more than 1,100 unintentional shooting incidents in the United States so far this year that left at least one person dead or wounded.


Magistrate Edgar Kagoni in trouble for mishandling Sh30m heroin

MOHAMED AHMEDBy MOHAMED AHMED
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Mombasa Principal Magistrate Edgar Kagoni has been arrested for loss of heroin exhibit worth Sh30 million.

Mr Kagoniu was arrested alongside four others including Ruiru court assistant Onesmus Momanyi, court executive assistant Abdallah Awadh and court staff Lawrence Thoya.

The court officials are also in trouble over loss of cash Sh600,000 which was confiscated in an operation against drugs.

The loss of these exhibits, according the Directorate of Criminal Investigations happened in July 2018.

A police brief seen by the Nation showed that Mr Kagoni is being held at the Mombasa Port Police Station.

A source privy to the case told the Nation that orders for the arrest of the magistrate came from anti-narcotics director Dr Hamisi Massa, who has been at the Coast region to deal with drug cases.

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The suspects will be arraigned Monday to face charges of obstruction with intent to defeat justice and aiding and abetting trafficking in narcotic drugs.

The arrest of Mr Kagoni comes days after his court clerk Florence Dianga was seized in connection with faking surety documents used to bail out Mombasa businessman Mohammed Ali Noor.

The court clerk was arrested alongside her accomplices George Ochieng Omollo and Teddy Ojwang Mwanga, who were charged in a Shanzu court.


Kinangop lightning strike kills two, injures one

WAIKWA MAINABy WAIKWA MAINA
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Two young men were Friday night killed by lightning in Kinangop, Nyandarua County.

A third victim is admitted to Nyayo Ward Hospital in Engineer town where he was taken by residents.

Mr Njuguna Gitau, a witness, said the three were struck while they were fixing a section of a playing ground in Kwa Market area in preparation for a football match scheduled for Saturday. 

“They were among a group of young men who were renovating the field and when it started raining, they said they won’t leave until the job is complete,” said Njuguna.

Kinangop police boss Charles Rotich said the bodies of the victims were moved to Engineer Ward Level Four Hospital mortuary.

Nyandarua Governor Francis Kimemia condoled with the families and friends of the young men and termed the incident a blow to the county.

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“We are saddened that they died while serving their community,” said Mr Kimemia.

He said the field they were fixing was donated to young men in the area by a resident to support and promote the local talent. 


Dispute over renewal of land lease to Del Monte

SIMON CIURIBy SIMON CIURI
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Sharp differences have emerged between elected Kiambu leaders and the Ferdinand Waititu-led county government over the renewal of the land lease to fruit juice processor Del Monte Kenya Limited.

The leaders have opposed the renewal of the lease for another 99 years, accusing Mr Waititu and Del Monte chief executive Mr Stergios Gkaliamoutsas for ignoring concerns raised by residents.

According to the agreement signed on September 7 last year and seen by the Nation, the county government was to renew the lease for another 99 years while Del Monte was to cede 690 acres of non-arable land to the county for the expansion of Thika town, the construction of industrial parks, an airport, information and agro-technology complexes and for residential use.

One year later, none of these projects has taken off.

Thika Town MP Patrick Wainaina said he had petitioned the National Land Commission last year demanding that the land ceded to Kiambu county be surveyed afresh to establish its real acreage, expressing fears that the acreage could have been grossly understated.

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“We are pushing Del Monte Kenya Limited to call a field day to ascertain the area they are not using. I personally wrote to the managing director of Del Monte Kenya Limited last year calling all the stakeholders so that we can survey and ascertain the land they are not using before any demarcation, lease and transfer is done to Kiambu County,” said Mr Wainaina.

Contacted, the Del Monte chief executive confirmed that the company had received the letter from Mr Wainaina and “dispelled rumours” that it was using more land than it had been allocated.

Mr Gkaliamoutsas also denied that he was using his closeness with Mr Waititu to expedite the renewal of the lease.

“The allegations that Del Monte Kenya’s managing director, Stergios Gkaliamoutsas, used close influence with Kiambu’s Governor Ferdinand Waititu to speed up the land renewal process and ignored concerns raised by local leaders are categorically false.

“In all dealings, Mr Gkaliamoutsas and Del Monte Kenya operated in a legally compliant manner and in good faith, taking into consideration the stated concerns of all relevant stakeholders.

The terms agreed to with Kiambu County government leadership, are a matter of public record and readily available at The High Court Registry, The National Lands Commission Registry and The National Assembly Registry,” he stated.”

Under the terms of the agreement signed by the Del Monte CEO and Kiambu county secretary Martin Njogu, it was agreed that the latter should not interfere with arable land and that those areas be maintained and observed by the former.


Why Robert Mugabe spent his last days in Singapore

AFPBy AFP
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Former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe spent his final days in Singapore at one of Asia’s best hospitals, more than 8,000 kilometres away from his homeland.

He died Friday aged 95 at Gleneagles Hospital, breathing his last while surrounded by family members, according to a relative.

STRICTLY-RULED COUNTRY

Why would an African leader chose to seek medical treatment in faraway Singapore?

Singapore’s reputation as a strictly-ruled country is conducive to privacy and lacks a paparazzi culture and an aggressive media.

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Its healthcare system is reputed to be among the best in the world, offering a whole range of services from health screenings to high-end surgical procedures.

A controversial figure like Mugabe could expect no protesters to hound him, as Singapore has strict rules against political gatherings.

Up until his death, no one would even officially confirm the hospital where Mugabe was being treated, sending journalists on a wild goose chase in the early hours after the announcement in Harare of his passing.

Local media said he first sought medical treatment for a cataract problem in 2011 and returned in 2014 for another procedure. Since then, his visits became more frequent.

AFP journalists saw Mugabe at Gleneagles Hospital in 2017. It was the first time he has been seen in public since he was forced to resign after a military takeover brought a sudden end to his authoritarian 37-year rule.

He was back in Singapore in April this year as his health deteriorated and a relative said he was in and out of the hospital while in the city-state.

Mugabe’s nephew Adam Molai told reporters in Singapore the former leader was admitted at Gleneagles around a week before his death.

Molai said he died of afflictions related to old age.

Molai said the former leader “was surrounded by family” when he passed away and that he died “very peacefully”.

Mugabe also “spoke about how he loves his family” in his final days, Molai added.

According to its website, suites are priced between Sg$1,158 and Sg$7,588 ($838 and $5,500) daily, while the cheapest admission is in a four-bed ward at Sg$259.

Mugabe and his wife Grace travelled to Singapore to visit their daughter Bona, who studied in the city-state.

Both parents attended her graduation when she was awarded a masters degree in management, specialising in banking and finance.

Mugabe’s wife, dubbed “Gucci Grace” in the media, is also known for her lavish shopping sprees around the world. She was reported to have spent $10,700 on a handbag in a Singapore boutique.

Former Myanmar military leaders Soe Win and Than Shwe sought treatment in Singapore at various times.

Former Indonesian first lady Ani Yudhoyono died at Singapore’s National University Hospital in June.

In 2003, 29-year-old conjoined Iranian twins Laleh and Ladan Bijani chose Singapore to have their separation surgery but both died after a marathon operation.

And in 2012, a student who was critically wounded after a gang-rape in New Delhi — a case that sparked national outrage in India — was brought to Singapore for treatment but succumbed to her injuries soon after her arrival.


Hurricane Dorian's death toll in Bahamas rises to 43

AFPBy AFP
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The death toll from Hurricane Dorian’s devastating rampage across the Bahamas rose to 43 Friday, a number authorities said is likely to climb “significantly,” even as rescuers plucked desperate survivors from the debris.

More than 260 residents of brutally damaged Abaco Island arrived in the capital city of Nassau after spending more than seven hours on a government-chartered ferry, a second of which was expected to arrive overnight.

Those who made it to safety awaited news of loved ones such as Diane Forbes, who had not heard from her two sons since Tuesday and was searching for them among some 200 evacuees sheltering at a gymnasium Friday night in Nassau, which was spared the wrath of the hurricane.

“They said they were hungry and the scent of the bodies, the dead, was really getting to them… I don’t know if my son is alive or not,” she said of one of her children, who had been in Marsh Harbour on Abaco with his girlfriend and her mother.

Health Minister Duane Sands confirmed the new death toll of 43, up from 30, according to US network CNN and Bahamas newspaper The Tribune.

“Forty-three is the official count, many missing and this number is expected to grow significantly,” Erica Wells Cox, a spokeswoman for Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, told NBC News.

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The Bahamian government did not immediately respond when contacted by AFP.

Of the eventual death toll, Sands had declared previously that “the number will be staggering.”

“Literally hundreds, up to thousands, of people are still missing,” Joy Jibrilu, the director general of the Bahamian tourism and aviation ministry, told CNN.

Thousands of people were left homeless on the islands of Grand Bahama and Abaco and many were becoming frustrated with the speed of relief and evacuation efforts.

“There’s no gas station, no food stores, my job is gone” said Melanie Lowe of Marsh Harbour, whose house was partially destroyed and had packed into a two-bedroom apartment with 16 people before arriving in Nassau.

According to UN relief officials, more than 70,000 people — virtually the entire population of Grand Bahama and Abaco — are in need of assistance after the storm reduced homes to matchsticks and destroyed people’s livelihoods.

The US Coast Guard and private organizations have been evacuating residents of Abaco and other islands to Nassau.

The multinational relief effort, which also includes Britain’s Royal Navy and several non-governmental organizations, has been hampered by flood damage to airport runways, destroyed piers and docks and downed communications.

Tents and awnings installed at Nassau Airport, not far from rescue planes taking off and landing, provided temporary housing for storm-battered Bahamians.