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Evacuation Wait Frustrates Abaco Residents


Abandoned, in panic and in survival mode, that was the atmosphere at Treasure Cay International Airport on Friday morning as hundreds of residents waited on the tar mat to get off the island.

Residents explained that they slept outside on the ground as the airport was completely destroyed.  

The Dundas Town residents told The Bahama Journal on the ground that efforts to leave behind their bruised, battered and really uninhabitable community have certainly not been a good experience and some of them have been trying for days.

“The response was too slow in order to have anything happen then within the first 48 hours of calmness.  Things should have happened and nothing really happened because we were talking to the minister and so forth and he can’t make decisions,”Dundas Town resident Matthew Taylor said.  

“You cannot have people on the ground that cannot make decisions. They direct us to come up to the complex.  We go up there and it’s worse up there than where we actually are. So no one is giving any proper directions.” 

Residents were also outraged that they paid for airline tickets to get off the island, to only be told at the airport that their reservations would not be honoured. 

“I’m tired, I’m weary and I’m smelly.  We can take care of ourselves when we get to Nassau, but getting to Nassau seems to be a challenge. This is no rocket science. If you’re going to help, then help. If you are not going to help then stand aside,” he said.

“It’s like there is no hope.  The government is supposed to be a ray of hope. The PM I guess has his hands full, but you can’t send people who can’t make decisions, they have to make decisions.

“Our country operates too much like that. We have managers and no one can make a decision. That’s why we are suffering on the other islands.” 

Residents seemed to feel as though the government should have done more to ensure that they were safe. 

Another Dundas Town Resident told The Bahama Journal that her family made the long journey from Dundas Town, leaving some relatives behind with a disabled child and an old woman in hopes of getting on a flight, but were greatly disappointed.  

“We’ve been trying to get out for three days now.  We were here during the storm and was trying to get out. We have no help, no government people, no NEMA and nobody came,” she said.    

“We had to struggle and pay our way to Nassau. We have no help from the government at all.  So they are making it seem like it’s something that it’s not. We have no help. 

“It’s chaos. You can smell the decomposing bodies coming down here, no help.”

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis went to Abaco on Friday and sought to assure evacuees that Bahamasair flights are free and to just be patient as they would get everyone out.

“Bahamasair will be moving in and out to move you back to Nassau. There will be no charge. The government will move you back and forth. We will have accommodations,” the prime minister said.

“We’re arranging accommodation for you so that you can be placed. The minister of education is also organizing the schools for the children so that we can have their education continuous, but just be patient with us.

“We’re trying to do our best and move you all out as quick as possible.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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