Categorized | National News

Thousands Of Homes Flooded

Widespread flooding has either completely destroyed or damaged thousands of homes in New Providence, according to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) officials.

Eastern New Providence and Pinewood Gardens were just some of the areas hardest hit by the flooding.

Residents spent most of the day waist deep in water cleaning up the mess and assessing their losses.

NEMA officials could not put a dollar amount on yesterday’s damages.

Up to 13 inches of rain fell in Elizabeth Estates; Camperdown recorded 15.29 inches and Stapeldon recorded 13.6 inches.

The average rainfall for May is 5.4 inches, according to Sr. Deputy Director of Meteorology, Trevor Basden.

“A line of showers and thunderstorms moved off the coast of Florida eastward towards The Bahamas. At about 2:00 p.m. this line of showers was just to the west of Andros – over the Great Bahama Banks, which are shallow – and that energy from the daytime heating fed the system and it engaged itself with a mid to upper level trough of tropical moisture which just exploded from this heating resulting in thunderstorms and flooding throughout most of the northwest Bahamas,” Mr. Basden explained during a news conference at NEMA’s headquarters Wednesday.

NEMA Director Captain Stephen Russell and several assessment teams spent most of the day yesterday travelling throughout New Providence yesterday canvassing storm ravaged areas.

“In the Pinewood area, and that extends into some of the other areas, Englerston and the eastern section of New Providence, there is still standing water in some of the homes and that posed a major concern for us upon entering the homes,” he said.

“There’s still three to five inches of water in persons’ homes, people are wading through the water in their homes and carrying out normal functions like switching on lights. I want to stress that people who have water in their homes should turn off their electrical supplies from the breaker. Because if you’re going about the house carrying out your normal functions, turning on switches and you’re standing in water a mishap could occur in the house.”

Meantime, Wrensworth Butler of the Department of Social Services said his department will do all it can to assist displaced families.

“We found in some areas there was significant damage and persons will be needing assistance,” he said.

“Social Services is prepared to assist once they are assessed. In order for a person to be assessed, they would need to visit the Community Support Division and see a social worker so they can be assisted. A more thorough investigation will be carried out once the water has receded so that we can get an accurate assessment of what the entire damage was.”

Water & Sewerage Corporation (WSC) Senior Engineer Cyprian Gibson said the corporation’s water supply remains intact.

“As it relates to sewerage, our sewerage systems are generally intact save for some of the areas that are prone to flooding like Pinewood, but mitigating measures are being put in place and those remain ongoing,” he said.

Mr. Gibson warned residents, particularly those in flooded areas, to use bottled water or city supplies.

Captain Russell noted that some homes’ sewerage systems are overflowing, contaminating the well water in the process.

“We want to urge people to refrain from using the water. You even see kids in the parks playing in the water. We want to encourage families to [block] their kids from walking about in these waters, particularly in the Pinewood area. You may just be casually walking and not be aware of where the boundaries are of the pond and you find a mishap occurring just by casually walking about in the pond area,” he said.

“We’re also mindful that insects are crawling as well as animals because they’ve been flushed out and they’re now finding their way in homes and centipedes among other things are seen crawling about in people’s homes.”

The NEMA director also noted that motorists are moving about the areas and the waves, created by their cars, are snaking into homes.

Henry Moxey, a civil engineer at the Ministry of Works, said in order to address flooding concerns, officials have assessed the extent of the flooding, begun GPSing areas that are not prone to flooding, but flooded anyway in order to better map them and are also looking closely at those areas where motorists cannot traverse.

He said the ministry is also further developing its drainage maintenance plan as it relates to routine and periodic maintenance.

There are 5,000 wells throughout New Providence that the ministry is now seeking to have cleaned on a consistent basis.

However, this weather system, he said, exacerbated the situation.

Officials are now trying to strategise how best to remove “tremendous” volumes of water.

“Pumping it is a futile effort; it’s a great undertaking in terms of cost, so we’re looking at more cost effective, practical methods to move those volumes of water,” he said.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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