Govt to discuss evacuations of Abaco, GB

Emotional Hurricane Dorian evacuees greet their family members as they arrive at Odyssey Aviation on New Providence from Abaco yesterday. (Photo by Ahvia J. Campbell)
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(The Nassau Guardian, 6 Sept. 2019) Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said yesterday he will meet with Cabinet to discuss a possible evacuation plan for those residents on Abaco and Grand Bahama who want to leave after the island was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.

Minnis met yesterday with CARICOM officials, including CARICOM Chairman and St. Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and CARICOM Secretary General Irwin LaRocque.

When asked about a plan to get people out of Abaco, Minnis said, “We have a committee; they will be looking at accommodations.

“That is something that we discussed this morning. Allen, the chairman of CARICOM, he and I will discuss that further because he’s had that challenge himself so we will discuss that further as to the value of relocation versus [the] value of bringing in the necessary accommodations and which type of accommodations are most appropriate for our nation.”

When asked about concerns of looting on Abaco, Minnis said, “We are aggressively doing all we can at this particular time. We are concerned with security issues because electricity is gone. Therefore, nights are especially a challenge.”

Minnis noted that Caribbean leaders have pledged support and security forces to assist The Bahamas.

“Jamaica has promised us 150 personnel to assist on the ground with security,” he said.

“Trinidad has committed a number also.

“Dominica would be willing to input if necessary. Barbados is willing, St. Lucia is willing. Basically, all of the Caribbean nations are willing to input with security to assist us. We all recognize that that’s going to be a problem.

“Tomorrow after cabinet…we will address the issue with the children. We must ensure that education of kids in Abaco continues. So, we will address that tomorrow to ensure that there is no break in education. That is essential for us.”

Hurricane Dorian hit Abaco as a Category 5 storm that left widespread destruction on the cays and Marsh Harbour.

There are thousands of people on Abaco seeking shelter in government clinics, offices, cars and the ruins of their homes.

The U.S. Coast Guard has been evacuating people out of Abaco for the last several days.

The non-profit HeadKnowles said it evacuated 200 people out of Abaco yesterday.

The death toll now stands at 30 but it is expected to rise in the coming days.

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