Categorized | Featured, National News

1,000 Being Evacuated

Hubert Minnis on Hurricane IRMA (2) - Top Photo

Hubert Minnis on Hurricane IRMA (2) - Top PhotoMore than 1,000 persons are expected to be flown into the capital from various Family Islands over the next several hours as the government is preparing for the potential catastrophic impact of Hurricane Irma.

This was revealed by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday during a press briefing held at the Office of the Prime Minister to update the country on the government’s disaster preparedness plan in the wake of the historic category five storm’s arrival.

“Because of the potentially catastrophic effect and the potential loss of life resulting from Hurricane Irma, and after consultation with Cabinet colleagues, the National Emergency Management Agency and the Met Office, the government has taken the decision to institute an emergency evacuation to New Providence for the residents of MICAL and Ragged Island,” Dr. Minnis said.

“The emergency evacuation will be begin early tomorrow morning and will be conducted by aircraft. To underscore the threat posed by Hurricane Irma, I note that this is the largest such evacuation in the history of the country.

“We are advising in the strongest possible terms that the residents of MICAL and Ragged Island comply with the evacuation from their respective islands.

“Emergency personnel and assistance will be unavailable during the immediate impact of the hurricane for those in MICAL and Ragged Island who do not evacuate.”

Furthermore, rescue and recovery may take an extended period of time for those who did not evacuate.

Dr. Minnis made a plea to residents who may be hesitant to evacuate saying help may arrive too late if persons are seriously affected.

“Do not put your life and those of your loved ones at unnecessary risk.  Do not be foolish and try to brave out this monster storm. The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life or serious physical harm,” he said.

“With Hurricane Katrina in the United States and Hurricane Matthew last year, there were those who refused to evacuate.

“The evacuation from the Southern Bahamas will be completed by tomorrow evening.

“We are asking those who agree to evacuate, to contact family members, friends and church fellowships to accommodate them during their stay in New Providence.

“For those who do not have such accommodations, the Kendal Isaacs National Gymnasium will be used as a major shelter for those evacuated from MICAL and Ragged Island.

“The Roman Catholic Archdiocese has also generously agreed to the use of Loyola Hall on Gladstone Road as a major shelter. The impending evacuation is part of the government’s disaster preparedness and management plan.”

The press briefing also served as platform to display national unity as Dr. Minnis he had briefed the Leader of the Opposition Philip Davis on Hurricane Irma and sought his expertise on how to deal with the situation.

As far as the actual course of events, The Bahama Journal spoke with Director of the National Emergency Management Agency Captain Stephen Russell who said flights out of the respective islands will commence as early as 7 a.m.

“Bahamasair, Pineapple Air, Skyy Bahamas, those are the three airlines that are going to participate in the exercise by doing a series of shuttle flights,” Mr. Russell said.

“For Inagua, flights are starting as early as 7 a.m., 11 a.m., 3 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 5:15 p.m. for those persons in Inagua.

“For Ragged Island, we have 11 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.

“I urge persons not to take a chance to risk their lives by staying. Your home can be replaced, your life cannot.”

Captain Russell also said possible evacuations could be in line for islands such as Andros and Bimini as the storm strengthens.

Category five Hurricane Irma has become one of the strongest storms recorded in the Atlantic and is threatening to slam into Caribbean islands including The Bahamas Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands with “potentially catastrophic” force.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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