PM issues evacuation order for portions of Grand Bahama, Abaco
NASSAU, BAHAMAS- Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis today announced an emergency evacuation order for the northwestern islands of The Bahamas, warning that Hurricane Dorian is a “very powerful” storm that poses a “great threat” to the residents of those islands.
During a press conference at Police headquarters on East Street today, Minnis warned residents who remain behind that they “place themselves in great danger from this very powerful and potentially life-threatening hurricane, which will bring dangerously strong and high wind surge, which is one of the greatest threats from a hurricane”.
“Because of the danger posed by Hurricane Dorian we must act quickly to protect lives with particular emphasis on the residents of the northwest Bahamas, who are at the greatest risk,” Minnis said.
“Last evening the Cabinet met with officials of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and other related agencies to map out the way forward with primarily focus on protecting and saving lives.
“After consultation with Cabinet colleagues and with NEMA and the MET Department, the government has decided to institute an emergency evacuation for residents from the northern cays of Abaco to mainland Abaco.
“We are also urging residents from West End, East End, Sweeting’s Cay and Water’s Cay to move to the interior of Grand Bahama as quickly as possible.
“For those residents of Grand Bahama and Abaco, who wish to leave these islands, flights are being increased.
“I am appealing to residents who are able to do so financially to seek shelter among family members and other suitable accommodations for their safety.
“As I speak, the emergency evacuations are being conducted.
“They are currently evacuating residents from Grand Cay, who we know are moving to south Abaco via boats and aircraft.”
Minnis continued, “Emergency personnel and assistance will be unavailable during the immediate impact of the hurricane for those in the projected path who do not evacuate,” he emphasized.
“Let me again make the strongest plea possible to residents of the north and central Abaco, and East End Grand Bahama to evacuate their respective areas. Do not put your life and those of your loved ones at unnecessary risk. I urge you, do not be foolish and try to brave out this hurricane. The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life.”
The order advises that residents of Sweeting’s Cay, Water Cay, Gold Rock Creek North and South, Freetown, Pelican Point, Rocky Creek, McClean’s Town, Grand Cay, Deep Water Cay and Queen’s Cove should evacuate.
The order also advises residents in Gambier Point, Bevans Town, High Rock, Smith’s Town, Matthew Town to be on alert and move inland.
As it relates to West Grand Bahama, Minnis announced that residents of West End, Bootle Bay and Bahama Beach should evacuate.
He advised residents in Deadman’s Reef, Holmes Rock, Sea Grape Village, Russel Town, Martin Town, Pinedale and Hanna Hill to move inland.
Dorian, currently a Category 1 hurricane, with sustained winds of 110 miles per hour was moving northwest at 12 miles per hour.
The powerful storm is expected to pass directly over Abaco and the Abaco Cays, as well as Grand Bahama, and will begin impacting those islands by Saturday evening.
As of 11 a.m. the storm was 300 miles east of San Salvador.
Minnis warned that Dorian was moving slowly, which adds to the danger of “this very powerful storm”.
A hurricane watch remains in effect for the islands of the northwest Bahamas, including Abaco, Grand Bahama, Bimini, The Berry Islands, North Eleuthera, North Andros and New Providence.
Due to the wind speed, rainfall and expected storm surges, compounded with the
“Let me again emphasize that because of the wind speed, rain and expected storm surge mixed with the spring tide, this is a very powerful and extremely dangerous hurricane,”
Dorian is expected to produce storm surges between 12 and 15 feet, officials announced.
The prime minister noted that flooding poses a “great risk” to people, property and animals.
New Providence, Bimini and the Berry Islands are expected to impacted by tropical storm force winds.
The prime minister cautioned residents to begin hurricane preparations.
He reminded the public that even with the best projections, the storm can shift.
The prime minister added that a $100 million contingent loan facility from the Inter–American Development Bank (IDB) is available for The Bahamas to have access to resources in the event of catastrophe.