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2021 Hurricane Message

by Premier, Hon. Joseph E. Farrell

Fellow Montserratians I extend warm greetings to all of you.

  As we begin the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season, I want us to take some time to reflect on the past year, and how we have been able to adapt to a world in which COVID-19 has dominated our everyday lives and actions.  It has also reinforced the need for us to take the necessary precautions to protect ourselves and our families.

 As we enter the 2021 Hurricane Season, we have to ensure that our desire to protect ourselves and our families are amplified to include hurricane precautionary measures to protect not only human life but also our homes, our businesses, and our infrastructure.

The Atlantic Hurricane Season is constant each year; from June 1 to November 30 and Mother Nature does not pause to give us a break because we have been dealing with other matters such as the COVID-19 pandemic; and so, we should not be complacent as it relates to hurricane preparedness. 

The predictions are for another active hurricane season, and while God’s favour and mercies have spared us over the past few years from any direct impact, I urge you to not let down your guard.  Regardless of the level of activity predicted, I want to remind you that it only takes one hurricane to directly impact us and seriously affect us.

Some of us might believe that a hurricane is not a real threat or assume that we will be spared because we have not been directly affected in recent years.  But, I strongly urge you to take all precautionary measures to safeguard your families, businesses and communities.

The Government’s work to protect lives and livelihoods continue, and even as we maintain our efforts on COVID-19, we have also been actively preparing for this hurricane season.  In fact, the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) has been working with key stakeholders, prior to the start of the hurricane season to ensure steps are taken to prepare for any eventuality.

Our government Ministries and departments have been updating their hurricane plans and work to protect our infrastructure has already started as the Public Works Department has been clearing our waterways to reduce the likelihood of flooding.

As I do every year, I encourage you to:

  • Follow the advice from officials at the Disaster Management Coordination Agency (DMCA) – they are our experts in disaster preparedness and response.
  • Stay informed by monitoring communication channels for official information from Government.
  • Update your hurricane preparedness plans for your family and your business. Everyone in your family or business should know what to do and where to go if impacted, and;
  • Pack essential supplies in an Emergency Kit.—Supplies should include non-perishable food and water for everyone in your home, medications, sanitisers, face-covering, items for personal hygiene and batteries.

I encourage you to remember those in your communities who are not as mobile as you are and need your assistance, the vulnerable, elderly and persons with disabilities, please lend them a helping hand.

Do stay safe and look out for each other. 

May God bless and protect us.

June 1, 2021

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Accu-Weather

Ana becomes first named system of 2021 in Atlantic

By Jake Sojda, AccuWeather meteorologist & Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist

Published May. 22, 2021

It begins. The official start to hurricane season is more than a week away, but the first-named storm of the season formed early Saturday morning as Subtropical Storm Ana took shape over the Atlantic Ocean, east of Bermuda. AccuWeather forecasters had been monitoring an area of low pressure since early in the week and on Saturday, the system organized and was packing sustained winds of 45 mph.

Satellite view of Ana pinwheeling in the Atlantic northeast of Bermuda Saturday afternoon, May 22. (RAMMB/CIRA)

Ana developed 200 miles northeast of Bermuda early Saturday morning. As of Saturday afternoon, Ana is slowly moving northeast at around 5 mph.

Friday, before it reached tropical storm strength, the area of low pressure being watched was dubbed Invest 90L by the National Hurricane Center. A second area with the potential for further tropical development, known as Invest 91L, became better organized early Friday in the western Gulf of Mexico before moving inland over Texas early Saturday morning and ending its chances for development.

Satellite showed clouds becoming more organized around the center of low-pressure east of Bermuda early Friday, May 21, 2021, indicating the development of tropical characteristics. (RAMMB/CIRA)

Since Invest 90L strengthened, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) named it Ana, the first name on the list of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.

Ana developed from a system that earlier this week was a non-tropical storm associated with a pocket of cool air high up in the atmosphere. However, occasionally, over time, features such as this can acquire tropical characteristics, provided ocean water is warm enough to allow such a transition. When this happens, subtropical depressions or storms can be named by the NHC.

AccuWeather meteorologists do not expect Ana to develop into anything stronger than its current status. However, as it brushes Bermuda, breezy conditions with showers are likely to impact the island nation.

“Heavier rain and stronger winds will stay to the northeast of the islands,” AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty explained.

The flurry of activity comes a year after the Atlantic hurricane season, which later turned hyperactive, began early with two systems developing before June 1.

Tropical Storm Arthur formed southeast of Florida on May 16 last year, and Tropical Storm Bertha was named after a non-tropical system rapidly strengthened over the western Atlantic, off the Georgia coast, on May 27. The tropical storm crashed ashore near Isle of Palms, South Carolina, a few hours after forming. Bertha unleashed locally flooding rainfall and dangerous rip currents and surf along the coast.

The 2020 season went on to become the busiest on record with 30 named systems. There were so many storms that the Greek alphabet was tapped to name nine different systems once the pre-designated list of names for the season had been exhausted — a naming convention that will no longer be used by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). A record 11 tropical systems made landfall in the United States in 2020.

The last time the name Ana was used to name an Atlantic storm, it was given to another pre-season storm that developed in the basin. In 2015, a subtropical storm formed from a non-tropical system — in a manner similar to how Ana formed — north of the Bahamas. The system went on to strengthen into a tropical storm while over the warm waters of the Gulf Stream on May 9 about 130 miles southeast of Myrtle Beach. It made landfall near North Myrtle Beach in South Carolina the next day.

In 2012, Tropical Storm Beryl also followed a similar evolution from a non-tropical system, becoming the earliest B-named storm when it became a subtropical storm on May 26. The next day it transitioned into a tropical storm and then made landfall near Jacksonville, Florida, on May 28. With maximum sustained winds of 65 mph at landfall, Beryl was the strongest out-of-season tropical cyclone to make landfall in the United States.

In any event, direct impact on the U.S. is not expected with Ana.

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Ana is expected to be pulled northward and absorbed by a non-tropical system that is forecast to emerge from the southeastern coast of Canada early next week.

Many may wonder whether the early signs of development could signal a busy season ahead, since a similar trend occurred in 2020, and AccuWeather forecasters say there may be some echoes and similar trends to last year, albeit with less non-stop action.

“We are expecting another very busy Atlantic hurricane season for 2021,” Kottlowski said.

“There is the potential for more than 20 named storms this season in the Atlantic with three to five impacts anticipated in the U.S,” Kottlowski said.

Several tropical systems may continue to churn over the basin from mid-October through November, which is a time when tropical conditions typically diminish. How active the season gets or remains may depend on the return of La Niña.

La Niña is part of a cycle of water temperatures in the tropical Pacific that oscillates between warm and cool patterns. When waters are cooler than average over the tropical Pacific, known as La Niña, the Atlantic is often more active than average in terms of tropical activity. On the other hand, when waters are warmer than average over the tropical Pacific, known as El Niño, the Atlantic is often less active than average.

Currently, water temperatures are relatively close to average over the tropical Pacific, with a neutral phase present. Conditions are expected to remain in this state well into the summer season before a La Niña pattern may develop again. The timing of that transition will be key to just how active the season becomes.

Back in late March of this year, AccuWeather’s team of tropical weather experts, led by Kottlowski, released its annual forecast for the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. The team predicted 16-20 named storms, including seven to 10 hurricanes. Of the storms projected to reach hurricane strength, three to five are expected to become major hurricanes — Category 3 or higher storms that have maximum sustained winds of 111 mph or greater.

Related: New study exposes multi-billion dollar factor in Superstorm Sandy’s destruction One city slammed by hurricanes in 2020 is working ahead to prepare US to face above-normal strikes from tropical systems in 2021… again Greek alphabet will no longer be used to name hurricanes

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Another Tropical Depression or Storm could form in the Atlantic this week

Reprint – July 26, 2020

The Atlantic could have yet another tropical depression or storm develop this week, piling on to the busy start we’ve already seen this hurricane season.

This latest disturbance is a broad area of low pressure located about halfway between Africa and the Lesser Antilles. The system has been dubbed Invest 92L – a naming convention used to identify areas being watched for tropical development – by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

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(The potential area of tropical development according to the latest National Hurricane Center outlook is shown by the polygon, color-coded by the chance of development over the next five days. An “X” indicates the location of a current disturbance. )

Invest 92L will be steered westward the next several days by the clockwise flow around a high-pressure system centered to its north.

Shower and thunderstorm activity in this system is disorganized, but conditions along its future path should be favorable for development. The NHC says there is a high chance of Invest 92L forming into a tropical depression during the next five days.

If this system were to become the next Atlantic tropical storm, it would be named Isaias (ees-ah-EE-ahs).

Regardless of development, this system could be located near or north of the Lesser Antilles as soon as Wednesday, and then Puerto Rico and Hispaniola late in the week. It’s too soon to determine what, if any, impacts these areas might see since that will depend on the system’s exact future track and intensity.

The forecast for this system beyond the Caribbean is also uncertain. Therefore, it’s too early to determine whether it could impact any other land areas, including the United States.

Posted in Climate/Weather, Hurricane, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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NASSAU, Bahamas Dec. 11, (CMC) – Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands says that weeks after the passage of Hurricane Dorian, there are bodies that remain unclaimed in a refrigerated trailer on the island of Abaco.

“In the trailer in Abaco, a significant number of bodies I believe probably about 50 (have not been claimed). DNA samples have been taken and the expected time from DNA sampling until comparison and conclusion can be as long as six to nine months,” he said.

According to Sands, while the remains of a few storm victims have been to their families, the government might use an independent third party to act as an intermediary to enable undocumented migrants – who may be fearful – to identify the remains.

“Bear in mind that some people may be afraid to come forward if their immigration status is not ideal. This problem is not unique to The Bahamas and so (a consideration is) to have an independent third party perhaps act as an intermediary so that the process of identification can take place,” said Sands, who was speaking outside Cabinet on Tuesday.

He added that health officials would like to curtail the length of time the bodies are kept in the Abaco trailer.

“In Abaco…we’d like to limit the length of time. We have remains in New Providence that would have been here in refrigerated trailers for years. There is no absolute limit as to how long you can keep refrigerated remains. In this instance however at that facility to have a trailer sitting there for an indefinite time is not ideal and so what we would like to be able to do is to be very aggressive in terms of making it safe and easy for individuals to identify.”

Concerning a burial site for the remains for the unidentified remains of those killed by the hurricane, he said that not much progress has been made for the burial site.

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Human rights group blasts government over deportation policy


by staff writer

NASSAU, Bahamas, Oct 2, CMC – The human rights group, Rights Bahamas, has criticised the decision of the Hubert Minnis government to deport undocumented migrants who survived the passage of Hurricane Dorian on September 1 and are now living in shelters.

“Rights Bahamas has alerted international human rights groups to the government’s savage, cold-hearted and illegal plan to expel migrants affected by Hurricane Dorian.

Hubert Minis

“We condemn this sudden about-face from the government’s earlier declaration that it will not target migrant the victims of the storm, and denounce the scheme for what is clearly is – a shameful attempt at political posturing aimed at currying favour with xenophobic elements of the populace,” the group said in a statement.

Immigration Minister, Elsworth Johnson, earlier this week said the shelters would not be used “to circumvent the law.

“If you’re in a shelter and you’re undocumented and you’re not here in the right way, you’re still subject to deportation and the enforcement of the immigration laws,” Johnson said, adding “the government of The Bahamas fully appreciates that we are a country of laws. We’re governed by the rule of law”.

Attorney General Carl Bethel said migrants who have lost their jobs as a result of the hurricane “need to go home” even if their work permits have not yet expired,.

Earlier, the Department of Immigration issued a statement specifying that prospective employers of storm victims that need work permits must prove their applicant has satisfactory living conditions, because if they don’t, they will be denied.

“The public is advised that non-nationals seeking employment in The Bahamas must be approved by the Immigration Department and that applications for the issuance of the first work permit will not be accepted or considered unless the individual is physically present and resident in his or her country of origin at the same time that the first application is made,” the Department of Immigration said.

Bethel said that if the employer is still paying workers hen they have a job, “if not then they need to go home

“The files will reflect who the business or homeowner applicant is. We will know if a job exists,” he added.

In its statement, Rights Bahamas said that the notice by Bethel “is hollow and disingenuous.

“How will those who have lost their property, their money and probably their travel documents manage to leave? This is nothing more than a precursor and excuse for an exercise of mass illegal deportation without due process.

“This very migrant population which the Attorney General speaks of so callously was among the most gravely affected by the storm. Now, the government would kick them when they are at their lowest, and heap further misery on their heads, just to score cheap political points. It is utterly unconscionable to further target, victimise and scapegoat people who have lost everything, including loved ones, in this shameful manner. Are they to have no time to even mourn in peace?”

The human rights group said that it “is the height of cynicism and cruelty” when the government is moving to deport people who “have lost their homes, jobs, everything and then declare that they must prove they are employed and “satisfactory living conditions” – whatever this arbitrary phrase is supposed to mean”.

Rights Bahamas said that this move “will undoubtedly affect hundreds of children of migrants born in the Bahamas, effectively denying them the right to Bahamian citizenship as mandated by the constitution.

“Once expelled with their parents, we all know that they will never be allowed back in to access their birthright. For many, this could mean being rendered stateless if their parents have passed away and/or and they have no way to prove their connection to whatever country our government is planning to expel them.”

Rights Bahamas said it is urging all of its international partners to “vocally condemn this declaration by the Bahamas government.

“We are also reporting the matter to the UNHCR and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, with a view to seeking precautionary measures to protect the migrant population in the Bahamas from arbitrary and illegal actions.”

The government-appointed coordinator of hurricane relief efforts in Abaco, Algernon Cargill, also warned undocumented migrants against any plans for returning to Abacos Islands.“

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Caricom Invites Stay in the Loop

CARICOM invites – Stay in the Loop – Reports to Sept. 27

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mg9wm1ua8KU&feature=youtu.be

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Tropical Storm Karen forms east of Windward Islands

By Editor – September 22, 2019

Tropical Storm Karen formed just east of the Windward Islands and has sustained winds of 40 mph. A tropical storm warning has been issued for Trinidad and Tobago, along with Grenada and its dependencies.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area, in this case within the next 12 hours. A tropical storm watch has been issued for St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

A tropical storm watch will likely be required for Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands later Sunday, and tropical storm warnings may be issued for other areas in the Windward Islands later this morning.

On the current forecast track Karen is forecast to move across the Windward Islands on Sunday afternoon and tonight.

The storm is then forecast to turn to the northwest Monday and north Tuesday. Karen will then approach Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Tuesday as a tropical storm.

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Bahamas Damage is seen from Hurricane Dorian in the

Dorian, worst ever hurricane!

At the first news, all Montserratians realised it was going to be worse than Hurricane Hugo as they began to remember September 17, 1989, though there could be little worse than the annihilation by Soufriere Hills volcano, but for the numbers…

Aerial view of Abaco island

On August 24, 2019 there came the following forecast that would turn out to be more devastating for many after it became in description the strongest a hurricane could be.

A tropical depression has formed east-southeast of Lesser Antilles.

At 11 00 a.m., the center of newly formed Tropical Depression Five was located 10.4 North, longitude 47.9 West.

A turn toward the west-northwest is forecast on Sunday, and that motion is expected to continue through Tuesday 27th.

On the forecast track, the tropical cyclone is expected to be near the central Lesser Antilles by Tuesday.

Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next few days, and the depression is forecast to become a tropical storm later tonight or on Sunday.

After reading that and looking at the graph and other forecast graphs and information we were prompted to publish the information with the following lead, and some mild cautionary words:

“This one can be troublesome – Pay special attention, Montserrat! If predicted Storm Tracker path holds will be passing at hurricane speed by Wednesday, 28th.”

So, by Wednesday the storm did pass by but had dipped southward on the chart to spare Montserrat who was reportedly from the DMCA prepared as best we could for any expected eventualities, as it continued westwards touching the USVI and shifting northwards grazing Puerto Rico and on to become a destroyer and a killer.

Earlier tracking of Dorion

See graph early tracking towards the Bahamas

Fast forward as the storm after passing Puerto Rico went out to sea again and prepared for a September 1 Sunday morning Hurricane Warning issued for the northwestern Bahamas excluding Andros Island, where a Hurricane Watch is in effect. On its current track, forecasters said, the core of the storm should be near or over portions of the northwestern Bahamas on Sunday, approaching as a category 4 and reaching as a category 5.

It is here we can remember Hugo that did just that, lingering after it hit category 5, measurements or descriptions not familiar to us back on September 17, 1989 thirty years ago which we remember next Tuesday.

By this time the weather forecast reports were concentrating on the US mainland Florida etc. But, by mid day the graph accompanied this report. “Hurricane Dorian is now a massive Category 5 hurricane this morning with sustained winds of 185 mph as it makes landfall on Elbow Cay of the Abaco Islands in the Atlantic Ocean.

The National Hurricane Center is calling the storm a life-threatening situation with extreme destruction and the potential for wind gusts over 200 mph.

It is the strongest hurricane in modern record for the northwestern Bahamas. As it continues to slowly move west towards the northwestern Bahamas the outer rain bands of Dorian are expected to reach Freeport and Nassau, with more intense rain falling on Great Abaco Island. Winds are starting pick up and will continue to increase through the morning.

This tweet of many began the story – “I just heard all of the homes in “The Mud” have been destroyed #Dorian2019 #marshharbour”

The forecast then continued: “What is certain from Hurricane Dorian is is that there will be a prolonged period of life-threatening storm surge, devastating hurricane-force winds, and heavy rains capable of producing life-threatening flash floods on the Abaco Islands and Grand Bahama through Monday while the hurricane warning remains in effect for these areas.”

That it was and it only got worst with the warning for the US northeast states, “Even without a landfall, storm surge, heavy rain, and tropical storm force winds will be felt. There is still high uncertainty in the track 3-5 days out and Dorian still has the potential to make landfall in the southeast states.”

Hurricane Dorian spent the best part of three days devastating the Bahamas since it made landfall on Sunday.

Days later and the wind may have traveled on but the water is still there covering, as in one story says, on September 4, 50,000 people call Grand Bahama island home. As you’re reading this, Grand Bahama is seventy percent underwater.

The devastating force of Hurricane Dorian, which made landfall over the Bahamas as a historic Category 5 hurricane. Intense wind, rain and storm surge is to blame for the flooding in Grand Bahama.

And very early, Finance Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Kevin Peter Turnquest stated that “There are still many outstanding rescue missions. It’s not looking good as we expect catastrophic damage.”

Several days later, Cayman’s RCIPS air crew returned from their week-long humanitarian mission to the hurricane-hit Bahamas with harrowing first-hand accounts of the devastation in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Captain Nigel Pitt, a former military pilot, said the destruction wrought by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas was the worst he had ever seen.

“We took the old helicopter across to Turks and Caicos after Irma. That was bad. This was 50 times worse,” he said.

The Royal Cayman Islands Police Helicopter, X-ray One, flew 42 missions from Nassau to the affected islands, carrying 125 passengers, including eight young children and 20 adult evacuees. They shipped personnel and desperately needed supplies including tarpaulins and communications equipment to many inaccessible locations.

Pitt said the crew had been proud to be able to assist, though some of the scenes were hard to witness.

People wait in Marsh Harbour Port to be evacuated to Nassau, in Abaco, Bahamas, Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. The evacuation is slow and there is frustration for some who said they had nowhere to go after the Hurricane Dorian splintered whole neighborhoods. (AP Photo/Gonzalo Gaudenzi)

“Some of it was very emotional,” he said. “When we first went to the point of the disaster at Marsh Harbour and you see the devastation, you have a lump in your throat, tear in your eye, you can’t even talk about it among yourselves because you knew or could imagine what the people had been through.”

The reports were all the same as aid and assistance poured in while evacuations from the Bahamas was also necessary for many.

See: related stories of Aid

https://twitter.com/i/status/1168684965858553856

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Hurricane Dorian hit the Bahamas Sunday as a Category 5 storm. It tied the record for the strongest Atlantic hurricane landfall ever, with sustained wind speeds of 185 mph.

Hurricane Dorian’s path continues with the trend that we’ve been seeing over the last day, keeping landfall away from Florida as the steering ridge of high pressure will weaken and allow for Dorian to take that turn to the north. The timing of that turn will be what determines the severity of impacts on Florida’s east coast.

While there are competing models for where the storm could hit, the east coast of Florida still should brace for potential landfall from Dorian.

PHOTO: The forecast track for Hurricane Dorian, Sept. 1, 2019. (ABC NEWS)

Even without a landfall, storm surge, heavy rain, and tropical storm force winds will be felt.

There is still high uncertainty in the track 3-5 days out and Dorian still has the potential to make landfall in the southeast states.

The Bahamas should expect storm surges of up to 15-20 feet, rainfall of up to 30 inches, and prolonged hurricane-force winds, large and destructive waves, and wind gusts of over 100 mph.

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WESH

Hurricane Jerry forms in the Atlantic, not expected to impact Florida, Leewards stay alert

WESH

Updated: 11:13 AM EDT Sep 19, 2019 Show Transcript ORLANDO, Fla. —

Tropical Storm Jerry strengthened to a hurricane Thursday, but forecasters say the storm is expected to take a turn toward the north and stay away from land.

Jerry is not forecast to change in strength much on Friday or Saturday, the National Hurricane Center said.

As of 11 a.m. the storm has winds of 75 mph. To be classified as a hurricane, a storm must have maximum sustained winds of at least 74 mph.

The center of Jerry will be near or north of the northern Leeward Islands on Friday and it will pass north of Puerto Rico on Saturday.

It could lose hurricane status Sunday, but restrengthen by Monday morning.

T.D. 10 Track

WESH

Invest 97 Models

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WESH-TV

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Jerry is just one of several systems being tracked by the NHC.

A tropical wave behind Jerry, located about 1,000 miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands, has a 30 percent chance of developing in the next five days.

TROPICS_ATLANTIC_SATELLITE

Also being tracked is a large area of disorganized showers and thunderstorms near and to the southeast of the Dominican Republic. Forecasters are giving it just a 10 percent chance of development in the next 48 hours.

Hurricane Humberto rushed past Bermuda, lashing the British Atlantic territory with powerful winds for hours before beginning to move away early Thursday, as new Hurricane Lorena swirled in the Pacific posing a threat to resorts on Mexico’s southwestern coast. Hurricane Humberto’s swipe at Bermuda leaves 80% of island without power

Potential Tropical Cyclone 9 Cone

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Invest 95 Models

WESH

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Bahamas-4-hudreds flee

Government defends measures taken to deal with aftermath of Hurricane Dorian

by staff writer

NASSAU, Sept 12, CMC – The Bahamas government has defended its handling of its response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian when it slammed into the country more than a week ago, killing at least 50 people and causing widespread devastation mainly on the Abacos island and the Grand Bahama.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis in a radio and television broadcast on Wednesday night also announced plans for a national day of mourning and has ordered that all flags be flown at half-mast on public buildings.

Officials here estimate that more than 2,500 people still remain missing following the passage of the Category 5 storm on September 1. They also acknowledge that the death toll could increase significantly as the search and rescue teams move more into the devastated areas of the Abacos and the Grand Bahama, where most of those reported missing had been residing.

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis addressing the nation (CMC Photo)

In his address, Prime Minister Minnis seemed to have acknowledged the criticisms levelled at his administration in the policies being implemented following the storm telling the nation, his administration had been removing the red tape that has been frustrating members of the public who are in desperate need of assistance.

“Right after the all-clear was given by the Met Department, we began mobilising our search, rescue and recovery efforts. We deployed security, food, water, and other resources as quickly as was possible once the all-clear was given so that first respondents were not put at risk.

Abaco under water

“Our search, rescue, and recovery efforts are one response with many parts. As soon as was possible, after the impact of the hurricane, the government deployed Bahamian rescue and security personnel, from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force and the Royal Bahamas Police Force.”

Minnis said that at the invitation of the government, he asked the US Coast Guard to immediately go into action, using their helicopters and other resources.

hundreds waiting to leave…

He praised the United States, saying President Donald Trump has authorised the full support of his government and that disaster management experts from the US are in the country providing their expertise.

“One of our closest allies and neighbour, is the United States of America,” he said, adding “because of their specialty equipment and resources, the US Coast Guard has been leading air rescuers and transport within the disaster zone.

“USAID is providing significant relief supplies. Members of the FBI are here too along with other US rescue, aid and security officials.”

In his address, Minnis also thanked the United Kingdom, which has sent its Royal Navy; the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), which has sent security forces and aid officials and the  Canadian government and the Royal Dutch Navy.

But Minnis said that while efforts are being made to assist people as quickly as possible, he also urged that people get together and assist in rebuilding the battered country.

“Instead of criticising those who are trying their best, day after day, in government, charities, churches and volunteers’ efforts, let us all join hands and hearts to focus on the needs of those who are suffering,” he said, adding “those whose lives are devastated need hope, love and generosity, not needless negativity.

“How can you help? Volunteer at a reputable charity. Make a donation. Take in those in need,” he said, noting that the destruction by the hurricane that had winds in excess of 180 miles per hour (mph) led to much of Abaco “no longer exists” while East Grand Bahama “has been laid to waste

“No living Bahamian has ever seen anything like this in their lifetime. But as horrible and vicious as Hurricane Dorian was, the bravery and resilience of the Bahamian people is even more powerful.”

Minnis said incidents of looting and lawlessness post-hurricane will not be tolerated, adding law enforcement officials have secured Abaco.

He said a private accounting firm will have oversight of storm relief donations to the government and will report on how the money is being spent.

Earlier this week, Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said the government is keeping a close tab on all the financial donations made to it for Hurricane Dorian relief, which he said have not yet totalled US$100 million.

“I’m not able to give you that number at the moment, I’d be speculating. But we are pleased with the level of contributions so far. We are keeping close tabs and control over all the donations and all the expenditure that we incur as a result of this disaster.

“We have assigned a certified public accountant to be on that team to ensure that the procedures and processes are fully controlled and that we get accurate reporting, so that we can give feedback to our donors on exactly how their money was spent,” he told reporters.

“Certainly, for the money I have collected I’ve given that commitment to those donors that we will give a detailed report of everything that we have done with their monies. No money that is collected for donation to the public or for infrastructure is going to incur any kind of deduction or any kind of administrative cost, we want every penny of that to go where it’s intended to go,” he added.

Meanwhile, two former prime ministers, Perry Christie and Hubert Ingraham have said they are available to assist in the rehabilitation efforts.

“Let me just say one point that may be perceived as criticism and if it is that’s too bad, too sad. Some people have the view that ‘listen, I have this job, I got this. So no I don’t need no help from you. I got it,” Ingraham said ’

“Well, it’s big. It’s bigger than any one man. It’s bigger than any one government, bigger than any one group and it’s our country all of our country and so we all have a duty to support.”

Ingraham said despite speaking with Minnis following the hurricane he did not think that the prime minister was minded to carve out a role for him as efforts continue.

Christie told reporters that when he spoke to Prime Minister Minnis, he suggested that they meet, but this meeting has not taken place.

“I spoke with Prime Minister Minnis on Sunday. He called me to make a suggestion as to what he thought I could do. I indicated to him that we should meet if circumstances warranted it. That didn’t happen, but I indicated at the time that based on the experience that I have had through four or five hurricanes that he would be overwhelmed by this.

“I told him that he should exercise the greatest care because the reputation of the country was being assaulted, that he was personally being heavily criticised and that it was just too much even if he was symbolic, for him to be the symbol of restoration in this country. I said if you were to make a bold decision, the people of the Bahamas would applaud you,” he added.

Posted in CARICOM, Climate/Weather, Hurricane, International, Local, News, Regional0 Comments

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