Política

Dorian kills five in Bahamas #dorian

Min­nis al­so called on Ba­hami­ans who lived on is­lands which were not dev­as­tat­ed by the hur­ri­cane to as­sist their com­pa­tri­ots.

“As Ba­hami­ans, we must unite with the sin­gu­lar fo­cus of help­ing our broth­ers and sis­ters in need. Due to the ex­tent of the dev­as­ta­tion, when weath­er per­mits, those on is­lands not dev­as­tat­ed by this mon­ster storm should open their homes to friends and fam­i­ly,” Min­nis said.

In a press re­lease yes­ter­day evening, T&T Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Min­is­ter Don­na Cox said Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley had al­ready of­fered as­sis­tance to Min­nis.

“He said as has hap­pened in the past, this coun­try will demon­strate its com­pas­sion and will­ing­ness to help its Cari­com neigh­bour,” Cox said.

How­ev­er, she not­ed that Row­ley did not quan­ti­fy the as­sis­tance be­ing of­fered as Ba­hami­an and re­gion­al dis­as­ter re­lief or­gan­i­sa­tions are yet to go in­to the af­fect­ed is­lands to as­sess dam­age and loss of life.

“The Prime Min­is­ter is await­ing the pas­sage of Do­ri­an to find out what kind of sup­port T&T will pro­vide to help the Ba­hamas cope,” Cox said

At least five Ba­hami­an cit­i­zens have been con­firmed dead af­ter Hur­ri­cane Do­ri­an made its way through the Ba­hamas be­tween Sun­day and yes­ter­day.

Speak­ing at a press con­fer­ence at the coun­try’s Na­tion­al Emer­gency Man­age­ment Agency (NE­MA) head­quar­ters in Nas­sau, New Prov­i­dence, yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, Prime Min­is­ter Dr Hu­bert Min­nis re­vealed the pro­vi­sion­al fa­tal­i­ty toll for Aba­co Is­lands—a small chain of is­lands to the north of the arch­i­pel­ago state where the hur­ri­cane first made land­fall.

While Min­nis and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials were hope­ful the death toll would not rise dra­mat­i­cal­ly, it ap­pears like­ly as lo­cal first re­spon­ders had still not been able to ac­cess the is­lands due to weath­er con­di­tions as­so­ci­at­ed with the slow-mov­ing Cat­e­go­ry Four hur­ri­cane, which was mov­ing at a snail’s pace over Grand Ba­hama Is­land up to late yes­ter­day.

Min­nis con­firmed, how­ev­er, that Unit­ed States Coast Guard per­son­nel were able to get ac­cess to the Aba­cos Is­lands and pro­vide some re­lief to in­jured res­i­dents. Crit­i­cal­ly in­jured per­sons were tak­en to the Princess Mar­garet Hos­pi­tal in New Prov­i­dence, which ex­pe­ri­enced flood­ing and oth­er dam­age from the hur­ri­cane but was not sub­ject to the brunt of its force. Over 20,000 peo­ple in­hab­it the re­gion.

“The ini­tial re­ports from Aba­co is that the dev­as­ta­tion is un­prece­dent­ed and ex­ten­sive. They are deeply wor­ry­ing,” Min­nis said.

He said the ma­jor­i­ty of the hous­es and build­ings on the ter­ri­to­ry were ei­ther par­tial­ly or com­plete­ly de­stroyed by Do­ri­an, which is be­ing la­belled the sec­ond strongest land-fall hur­ri­cane on record, with winds well in ex­cess of 157 mph or 252 km/h and storm surges up to 23 feet above nor­mal tide lev­el.

Dur­ing his brief ad­dress, Min­nis ad­mit­ted that nu­mer­ous re­gion­al and in­ter­na­tion­al coun­tries and re­lief agen­cies had con­tact­ed him to of­fer as­sis­tance. He said his gov­ern­ment would waive cus­toms du­ties and VAT on all re­lief items im­port­ed in­to the coun­try over the next few months. The items in­clude med­i­cine and med­ical sup­plies, elec­tri­cal gen­er­a­tors, tents, cots, bed­ding ma­te­r­i­al and mos­qui­to net­ting.

Min­nis al­so called on Ba­hami­ans who lived on is­lands which were not dev­as­tat­ed by the hur­ri­cane to as­sist their com­pa­tri­ots.

“As Ba­hami­ans, we must unite with the sin­gu­lar fo­cus of help­ing our broth­ers and sis­ters in need. Due to the ex­tent of the dev­as­ta­tion, when weath­er per­mits, those on is­lands not dev­as­tat­ed by this mon­ster storm should open their homes to friends and fam­i­ly,” Min­nis said.

In a press re­lease yes­ter­day evening, T&T Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Min­is­ter Don­na Cox said Prime Min­is­ter Dr Kei­th Row­ley had al­ready of­fered as­sis­tance to Min­nis.

“He said as has hap­pened in the past, this coun­try will demon­strate its com­pas­sion and will­ing­ness to help its Cari­com neigh­bour,” Cox said.

How­ev­er, she not­ed that Row­ley did not quan­ti­fy the as­sis­tance be­ing of­fered as Ba­hami­an and re­gion­al dis­as­ter re­lief or­gan­i­sa­tions are yet to go in­to the af­fect­ed is­lands to as­sess dam­age and loss of life.

“The Prime Min­is­ter is await­ing the pas­sage of Do­ri­an to find out what kind of sup­port T&T will pro­vide to help the Ba­hamas cope,” Cox said.

Row­ley’s of­fer came as sev­er­al re­gion­al and in­ter­na­tion­al coun­tries, as well as in­ter­na­tion­al char­i­ties and NGOs, pledged sup­port to the re­lief ef­forts.

Do­mini­ca, which is still re­cov­er­ing af­ter be­ing dev­as­tat­ed by Hur­ri­cane Maria in 2017, pledged US$100,000.

Like with oth­er re­gion­al nat­ur­al dis­as­ters, sev­er­al lo­cal NGOs have al­ready be­gun their own re­lief op­er­a­tions.

The T&T Man­u­fac­tur­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion (TTMA)’ in con­junc­tion with the Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try, yes­ter­day re­leased an ad­ver­tise­ment call­ing on its mem­bers and cit­i­zens to do­nate canned food, med­ical sup­plies, ba­by sup­plies, wa­ter, cloth­ing and mon­ey to its hur­ri­cane re­lief dri­ve.

Al­though Ba­hami­an re­lief per­son­nel and their for­eign coun­ter­parts were un­able to reach the Aba­co Is­lands to do an ex­ten­sive as­sess­ment, up to late yes­ter­day they and per­sons around the world were giv­en a glimpse by res­i­dents who had post­ed live videos on so­cial me­dia us­ing the cell­phone net­work, which man­aged to with­stand the hur­ri­cane’s wraith.

The har­row­ing videos de­pict­ed per­sons pray­ing and beg­ging for as­sis­tance, as waves of flood-wa­ters caused by heavy rain­fall and storm surges crashed against their hous­es and cov­ered low-ly­ing struc­tures. Oth­ers showed the roofs of hous­es and trees be­ing blown away in the strong winds.

In one video, Ba­hamas Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter Michael Pin­tard record­ed a wave of wa­ter smash­ing in­to the glass win­dows of an al­ready flood­ed home on Grand Ba­hama Is­land.

“That’s my kitchen win­dow that wa­ter is hit­ting and that has to be a min­i­mum of about 20 feet above the ground,” Pin­tard said in the cap­tion for the video.

Sev­er­al Ba­hami­ans di­rect­ly af­fect­ed by the hur­ri­cane spoke to tele­vi­sion host Hema Ramkissoon on CNC3’s Morn­ing Brew pro­gramme yes­ter­day and re­lat­ed their har­row­ing ex­pe­ri­ences.

Juani­ta Out­ten, of Aba­co Is­lands, said her fam­i­ly, which in­cludes four tod­dlers, was forced to flee their home af­ter the roof was lift­ed off on Sun­day night.

Out­ten and her fam­i­ly sought refuge at a neigh­bour’s house and had not been able to leave up un­til the time of the in­ter­view.

“We are go­ing to wait un­til the sun comes up to see if we can go out­side and as­sess. Ma­te­r­i­al things can be re­placed but I re­al­ly hope every­one is safe,” Out­ten said.

Kristoff Stra­chan, of Freeport, Grand Ba­hama Is­land, said the hur­ri­cane was the worst the coun­try had ever ex­pe­ri­enced.

“I know what hap­pened three years ago with Hur­ri­cane Matthew and that was not even as strong as Do­ri­an,” Stra­chan said.

While he ad­mit­ted that the Ba­hamas has strict build­ing codes be­cause of hur­ri­canes, Stra­chan said build­ings were on­ly built to with­stand 150 mph winds.

In his in­ter­view, Ba­hami­an Tourism and Avi­a­tion Min­is­ter Dion­i­sio D’Aguilar ad­mit­ted the coun­try could not ful­ly pre­pare for such a strong hur­ri­cane.

“I don’t think any gov­ern­ment in the Ba­hamas has had to con­tend with a cat­a­stro­phe of such epic pro­por­tions,” D’Aguilar said.

He ad­mit­ted some air­ports on the af­fect­ed is­lands were forced to close even af­ter the hur­ri­cane had passed as their run­aways re­mained flood­ed.

Up to late yes­ter­day, ZNS TV, Ba­hamas’ na­tion­al tele­vi­sion sta­tion, was help­ing to iden­ti­fy sur­vivors and those in need of as­sis­tance by tak­ing their calls in a live pro­gramme which ran for the en­tire day.