Hurricane Irene

Hurricane Irene 1

Residents in the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos are praising God for His blessings and mercies as there were no reports of serious injury or loss of life.

Many realized that were not for the intervention of God the picture could have been one of great tragedy and grief. Essentially Irene has downed electrical poles and telephone lines; damaged roofs and uprooted many trees young and old.

In the Bahamas, the National Emergency Management Team (NEMA) commenced its assessment earlier today, Friday, August 26, 2011 by visiting the southern islands of the Bahamas, namely Acklins and Crooked Islands.

Observe these initial reports from Pastor Andrew Burrows Community Services Coordinator for South Bahamas Conference and Pastor Michael Smith, president of the Turks and Caicos Islands Mission.

An Initial Report from the South Bahamas Conference on the Effects of Hurricane Irene

On Thursday afternoon, August 25, Pastor Peter Joseph, executive secretary and I, did an initial assessment on the island of New Providence. By this time Hurricane Irene was near the island of Abaco, having affected in some way almost every island of Bahamas. While there were visible and verbal reports of property damage, there were no reports of injury or death associated with the storm. Even in the midst of the storm we praise God.

Our first stop was the New Bahamas Academy. On the way there, we came across downed trees and power lines in various sections of the island. Once there everything appeared to be in order as there no visible damage as we continue to prepare for the school’s opening in just over a week.

The Good News and Hillview churches, which were designated as hurricane shelters by NEMA were fully operational being staffed by church members, Defense Force personal and Red Cross workers. There were some 40 persons who were registered at the shelters.

Reports out of the Family Island were not completed. However, up to Thursday evening reports from the Exuma, and Inagua district were gracious as there were no significant damage. In Crooked Island, the shelter at the Landrail Point Church was fully operational. In addition, national reports indicated significant property damage in Acklins, Cat Island and flooding in Long Island.

Now that the storm is trekking away from the Bahamas, a more up-to-date and comprehensive assessment will eventually be given. The South Bahamas conference stands ready to render whatever assistance is needed, particularly in our family islands.

Yet the hurricane season is not yet over. As we are now in the peak of the season our watch words ought to be:

Always Praying and Always Preparing. - Pastor Andrew E. Burrows, Adventist Community Services Coordinator, South Bahamas Conference

The following News Article captures in a general way the effects of Hurricane Irene on the Bahamas:

Hurricane Irene: The Bahamas Picks Up The Pieces After Devastating Storm

International Business Times
August 26, 2011 1:58 PM EDT

Although Hurricane Irene departed the Bahamas Thursday night, islanders are left to pick up the pieces and assess the damage to their archipelago.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported that the central and southeastern regions of the Caribbean nation were pulverized by the storm, while New Providence and Grand Bahama largely avoided Irene’s full impact.

Cat Island, Rum Cay, Crooked Island, Acklins and Mayaguana have reportedly incurred millions of dollars in property damages, as hundreds of homes, churches and other infrastructure were either destroyed or badly damaged. NEMA said that 90 percent of the settlement at Lovely Bay, Acklins has been wiped out.

“House roofs and several homes [were] blown away. Power lines and trees went down in the roads, and the shelter’s population increased,” NEMA said in a statement.

Captain Stephen Russell, director of NEMA, told the Miami Herald newspaper: “I’m concerned about Cat Island, and heard about some conditions in Eleuthera. Rum Cay and San Salvador don’t seem too bad right now.”

The Herald also said heavy damage was reported in Chester Bay and Salinas Point. Another witness told the paper that Crooked Island is “devastated” with dazed residents who had lost their homes wandering around.

However, no lives were lost, according to a report in the Nassau Guardian newspaper.

Downed electric lines have cut off power to thousands of residents.

The Bahamas Electricity Corp. (BEC) said in a statement: “At present, a number of customers are experiencing supply disruption. These outages may be caused by downed power lines due to heavy winds or trees falling on lines. Also, feeders that tripped due to fault conditions remain out of service until assessments can be carried out. This minimizes the risk of equipment damage as well as potential harm due to the possibility of downed energized power lines.”

Residents of New Providence and the Family Islands were particularly vulnerable to power outages.

According to the Guardian, local meteorologists recorded wind gusts as high as 140 miles per hour in some parts.

“That is significant and that is why you hear all the damage taking place,” said meteorologist Godfrey Burnside
One local official told the paper: “There is a tremendous amount of debris on the roads. Our first priority is to clear the streets, so we’re putting together a team of workers to clear the streets to give us access.”

Transportation in and out of Bahamas will likely be limited over the next few days, A total of 13 inches of rain are believed to have fallen on the islands, according to reports.

It was the worst storm to hit the Bahamas since Hurricane Floyd in 1999.
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