CAT ISLAND, The Bahamas -- Erosion of the infrastructure quite visible in Knowles’, Cat Island following the destructive path of Hurricane Sand. Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie, Government and NEMA officials view the site on Saturday, October 27, 2012. (BIS Photo / Peter Ramsay)
Bahamas - Prime Minister the Rt. Hon Perry Christie and Director of the
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Captain Stephen Russell embarked on
an assessment mission, October 28-29, 2012, to see first hand the damage
residents suffered at the hands of Hurricane Sandy.
October 24, the Bahamas Department of Meteorology issued a Hurricane watch for
islands in the Northwest and Central Bahamas. The storm subsequently developed
into a Category 2 hurricane with winds up to 110 mph.
LONG, Island, The Bahamas -- The banana farm in Long Island destroyed when Hurricane Sandy passed through. Farmer Scofield Miller said the two-acre crop was basically destroyed. (BIS Photo / Peter Ramsay)
left The Bahamas on Saturday, leaving extensive flooding, power outages and
The two-day tour
revealed the virtual wipe-out of banana farms in Long Island, beach erosion in
some areas, the road surface and a significant amount of ground beneath it
washed away in Knowles’, Cat Island, vast flooding in Queen’s Cove, Grand
Bahama, causing residents to suffer the painful reality of how to rebuild their
GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas -- Fishing Hole Road, extensively damaged by flooding during Hurricane Sandy, viewed by Government and NEMA officials, on Sunday, October 28, 2012. (BIS Photo / Peter Ramsay)
Also on the tour
were Cabinet Ministers, members of NEMA’s Emergency Support Function groupings
and individuals qualified to provide NEMA with the information needed to
further advise the Advisory Committee and eventually local, regional and
Christie is chairman of the Advisory Committee.
He noted that
personnel of the Department of Social Services are very active in Grand Bahama,
who will assess the needs of residents and recommend assistance where
GRAND BAHAMA, The Bahamas -- During a visit of areas impacted by Hurricane Sandy, Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry Christie comforts Era Gibson, a resident of Queen’s Cove, Grand Bahama, who became overwhelmed while explaining her experience, on Sunday, October 28, 2012. (BIS Photo / Peter Ramsay)
“Due to the
economic situation over the past two years, families are forced to come to the
Urban Renewal office and Social Services for help,” Prime Minister Christie
said. “The circumstances under
which people live -- we have to find a way to find employment.”
A visit to a
home in Eight Mile Rock, Grand Bahama, where a number of families were forced
to live together due to their economic situation, prompted the Prime Minister
to observe that due to NEMA’s assessment tour, certain social ills were brought
Minister observed that the way the children were living in such an environment
is one of the challenges the government is faced with
“We have to find
the best practices under which they are to live. We have here a Minister for
Grand Bahama, Dr Michael Darville.
We have to rely on him to be the first responder to these situations and
to help form public policy,” he said.
coming out of Queen’s Cove was the death of German Lobert Younker, who was
found dead in his home by his employee Jonathan Russell. Reportedly the man
refused to evacuate, even after Urban Renewal workers came to rescue him out of
three feet of water.
A visit to a retired
couple’s home, Ernest and Era Gibson, was an emotional moment for the pair, who
had their household items out on the lawn to dry. And, another resident, Raymond Simmone -- who lived through
four hurricanes impacting the area -- suffered the same experience of trying to
salvage what he could after the storm.
The Prime Minister said that although
the Government cannot ever compensate residents for their loss, they would be
assisted in some way.
He also spoke to
the possibility of enacting legislation prohibiting the development of
“vulnerable areas” prone to flooding resulting in residents experiencing the
same fate during a hurricane.
visited were the Fishing Hole Road, which was rendered impassable due to
widespread. The flooding of that thoroughfare linking Freeport to Eight Mile
Rock has been an issue for some time.
An engineering and environmental impact study done by Hutchinson Whompoa
is expected to be revisited.
A tour of the
Freeport International Airport, which was flooded by some four feet of water
and had to be closed down, also brought up the discussion of whether it is
feasible to keep it operational at that site and remain the victim of excessive
flooding in hurricane conditions.
Transport and Aviation the Hon. Glenys Hanna Martin said the Government has to
be very strategic in how and where it builds airports. Air traffic was expected to resume
Monday, October 29, 2012 at 7 a.m.