The National Emergency Management Agency, NEMA, remains in high activation mode to continue to monitor Hurricane Isaias as it moves through The Bahamas.
At 9am Saturday, The Bahamas Department of Meteorology discontinued Hurricane warning for the Central Bahamas; those islands include Exuma, Cat Island, Rum Cay, San Salvador and Long Island. Hence, the ‘All Clear’ was given for those areas.
However, residents were advised to continue to take cautionary measures as their areas can still experience severe thunderstorms associated with the outer-bands of Hurricane Isaias throughout Saturday.
A Hurricane Warning remained for Northwest Bahamas: Andros, New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco, Grand Bahama, Bimini, The Berry Islands and Cays
This means hurricane conditions are being experienced or could be experienced within 36 hours. Hurricane Isaias had sustained winds near 85mph with higher gusts and little change in strength is expected through Sunday, August 2, 2020. Storm surge of 3 to 5ft above normal tide levels can be expected along coastal areas throughout The Bahamas.
Hurricane Isaias is making its way up the spine of the archipelago. Thus far, the country is fearing well, and we are hopeful and optimistic that this remains the same as the Northwestern Bahamas prepares for the impact of thissystem.
On some islands, initial damage assessments were being conducted by NEMA representatives and Island Administrators.
The Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, Iram Lewis confirmed that the Emergency Operations Center on Grand Bahama was activated Friday, July 31 at 11:00 am and remains in “full activation”.
“This readiness is reflected in New Providence, Abaco, Cat Island, Andros, Eleuthera and all other Family Islands throughout the country,” he said.
On the island of Abaco, Island Administrator Terrece Bootle-Laing confirmed that 28 people were being housed in a shelter in the central district.
Additionally, on the Island of Andros, three individuals utilized the Nicholl’s Town shelter and some 50 residents in the BAMSI shelter.
South Andros and Mangrove Cay, reported strong winds and heavy rain.
“Androsians are asked to prepare to encounter the full brunt of Hurricane Isaias,” Mr. Lewis urged.
On New Providence, EMS services were suspended from 5:00 am due to an increase in wind speed. Ten shelters opened and there are some 49 people being accommodated.
On the Berry Islands, where conditions are expected to deteriorate, five people are in shelter at the Church of God of Prophecy.
Cat Island, Exuma, Long Island, Inagua and Acklins have seen an improvement in conditions, and there is no significant reported damage.
“My Ministry and its stakeholders have been in consistent contact with representatives from the Bahamas Power and Light (BPL). Rum Cay, Inagua, Bimini and Great Harbor Cay remains energized now,” Mr. Lewis said.
North Long Island, Mayaguana, Andros, Cat Island, Exuma and Ragged Island have experienced power outages, he noted.
“As soon as conditions improve on these islands, teams will be mobilized to begin the process of re-energizing communities,” added the Minister.
He also reminded all residents and citizens staying in shelters to adhere to ALL protocols outlined by the Ministry of Health and the Department of Social Services in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Always remember to wear your masks and practice social distancing. The country is indeed in the second wave of COVID-19 and we need not to magnify this issue,” Mr. Lewis urged.
Captain Russell, Director of NEMA confirmed that the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) of which The Bahamas is a Participating State, is on standby to assist, if a request is made.
Also on standby to assist are US coast guards to carry out initial aerial reconnaissance once conditions improve. And the United States Agency for International Development’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance is also on standby and to assist, one request is made for assistance.
NEMA is also receiving technical support from the Pacific Disaster Centre at the University of Hawaii.