Hurricane Sandy

Many of the islands of the Bahamas were speared the wrath of hurricane Sandy as it passes through the archipelago.

Shortly after the hurricane passed, the President of the South Bahamas Conference of Seventh-day Adventists, Pastor Paul Scavella, made contact with Pastors from the Family Islands to ascertain the degree of damage that the members and churches sustained. Fortunately, there was no loss of life and damages to members' homes and church properties were minimal.

Captain Russell of NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency) said that he would be working to assess the damage done to the Bahamas throughout the weekend.

It started as a Category 2 hurricane but then became a Category 1 toppling light posts, flooding roads and tearing off tree branches as it charged through Cat Island and Eleuthera.

Yesterday lunchtime, Capt Russell said: “What we are experiencing now in most of the islands is that a number of them have downed power lines which have resulted in the loss of some line communications.

“And many of them are experiencing quite a bit of flooding. As of Saturday through Monday, we hope to get teams from all the government agencies into the islands that have been seriously impacted to start their assessments to see how we can render some assistance,” he said.

Mr Russell said Nassau’s harbour was scheduled to reopen today for cruise shops once some minor repairs are completed.

“I had a walkabout with the Commander of the Port - Patrick McNeil, there are some slight concerns. A number of the large fenders have been dislodged from their jetties and he is in contact with the Ministry of Public Works and Urban Development to see how they can restore those fenders as quickly as possible so they can open the harbour.”

Storm drain and road clearance were priorities for the Ministry of Public Works, said acting chief engineer Bradley King.

“As you know, one of our responsibilities is that roads are clear and as much as practical, storm drainage takes place. Road crews are out and about as we speak.”

He said a lot of sand washed up onto the roads near Saunders Beach and Sandyport and a large hole developed in West Bay Street near The Caves.

Police will be temporarily closing parts of the road for repairs and other clearance.

Lynden Pindling International Airport re-opened yesterday afternoon. Assessment flights will visit the Family Islands to get a clearer look at what exactly happened.

The storm seemed to have inflicted the greatest damage on Cat Island, which took a direct hit, and Exuma, where there were reports of downed trees, power lines and damage to homes.

“I hope that’s it for the year,” said Veronica Marshall, a 73-year-old hotel owner in Great Exuma. “I thought we would be going into the night, but around 3 o’clock it all died down. I was very happy about that.”

On Long Island, farmers lost most of their crops and several roofs were torn off. The island was without power yesterday morning and many residents did not have access to fresh water.

Power was out on Acklins Island yesterday and most roads there were flooded, while in Ragged Island the school was flooded.

Docks on the western side of Great Inagua were destroyed and the roof of a government building was partially ripped off.

Speaking yesterday, Jennifer Savoie, a New Orleans native who lives in Eleuthera, said that her fiance’s resort, The Cove in Eleuthera, was spared major damage but that power was out.

“We know the protocol and how to prepare,” she said. “It’s in our blood. We were hit pretty hard though.”


By DANA SMITH Tribune Staff Reporter
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