Evacuees must have all standard docs. to enter U.S., Canada

Evacuees must have all standard docs. to enter U.S., Canada

No new entry arrangements made between Bahamas and other jurisdictions

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — There have been no new arrangements made between The Bahamas and any other jurisdiction to facilitate relaxed entry of Bahamians, according to National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) Spokesperson Carl Smith, who indicated that Hurricane Dorian survivors seeking to travel to the United States or Canada from the impacted islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama must have all usual and standard documentation to gain entry.

“While most inquiries have come in respect to movement to the United States or Canada, NEMA can confirm that the minister of foreign affairs is not aware of any new arrangements for any other country,” Smith said during a press conference at NEMA headquarters on Gladstone Road.

“We are aware of an incident reported on a large passenger vessel headed to the United States from [Freeport]. NEMA has requested that the Ministry of Tourism and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs investigate this matter.

“I wish to reiterate that there are no new arrangements in place for movement to foreign countries: to the United States and Canada in particular as inquires have been made to us.”

More than 4,800 people have been evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama to New Providence since the catastrophic Category 5 storm pummeled those islands on September 1-3.

Three flights — facilitated by Bahamasair, Delta Airlines and Trans Islands Airways —  are expected to depart Grand Bahama and Abaco today. The schedules for those flights have been posted on NEMA’s Facebook page.

Since the passage of the storm, evacuations have been facilitated by both public and private efforts, including the United States Coast Guard, Bahamasair, Delta Airlines, Western Air, Trans Island Airways, Bahamas Fast Ferries, among numerous others.

As of 10 a.m. Sunday, there were just over 200 people at the Fox Hill Community Shelter; 422 people at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs National Gymnasium; 91 evacuees at Calvary Baptist Church, 50 at the Salvation Army and 95 at the Pilgrim Baptist Church.

According to Smith, a total of 860 people were living in shelters in New Providence.

The number of people in need of food, water and temporary housing ranged between 7,000 and 10,000 people, according to NEMA.

There is no mandatory evacuation in place.

According to Smith, the intention is not to evacuate all residents from Grand Bahama and Abaco. Temporary housing will be built on both islands to accommodate those who have been displaced. He said NEMA will advise when commercial flights resume, which will happen “at some point”.