“Mass devastation” across other areas in GB
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Freeport’s infrastructure held up “relatively well” during Hurricane Dorian, according to a top Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) executive, who described the catastrophic Category 5 hurricane as “the mother of all storms”.
Rupert Hayward, executive director of the GBPA and the Port Group Limited told Eyewitness News that the GBPA’s primary focus has been to get the city service up and running as quickly as possible, including sanitation, water, power and clearing the roads, as well as providing immediate relief to those in need across the island.
“We have a secondary function which we have been very focused on as well, which is providing immediate relief to those who most need it here in Freeport and also those out east as well,” he said. “We stand in solidarity with all of our brothers and sisters on Grand Bahama. There is no delineation at the moment between those in the port area and those outside.”
Hayward continued, “We are getting water to people for sanitary purposes. We have electricity already back up in certain subdivisions including, Pelican Bay, the Grand Lucayan, West End, Royal Palm and a number of others that will come on over the course of the coming days. We need to get the potable water up and running as soon as possible. We only have one of our wells operating fully at the moment and that normally provides about 30 per cent of our water. We still have to flush out the saltwater before we can get potable water. I hope that will happen in the coming days. We need to reenergize our larger plants so we can get water to everyone as soon as possible.”
Hayward noted that roadways have been cleared, supermarkets are open as well as the Freeport Harbour.
“There is not a fuel shortage, but there are issues around the ability to pump fuel quickly at the pumps, which means it’s taking a long time for people to get fuel. That should improve once power starts to be restored to the various petrol stations. The airport is partially open and it’s receiving aid, but I can’t give a timeframe on the airport at the moment.”
Hayward said there is “mass devastation” on Grand Bahama where a large portion of the population has lost everything. He said, “This is a really tragic event and we stand in solidarity with everyone affected by this disaster.”
In terms of infrastructure, Hayward said, “Our infrastructure has held up relatively well. That is not to say that the situation is not dire and we don’t need a huge amount of help but we should be proud of the way our infrastructure has survived the mother of all storms.”