FREEPORT, Grand Bahama – Grand Bahama was spared the full wrath of Hurricane Sandy, but residents on the northern shore experienced severe flooding to their homes.
Grand Bahama Minister Dr Michael Darville led a team of officials from the Royal Bahamas Police and Defence Forces, Road Traffic Department, Department of Environmental Health and members of the Grand Bahama Disaster Consultative Committee on a tour of the island around midday Saturday.
Dr Darville was disturbed on learning of a death in Queen’s Cove, which could be associated with Hurricane Sandy. Only a few hours earlier the minister had led a delegation into Queen’s Cove to evacuate a number of persons. He remembered the deceased who did not want to leave his home.
Dr Darville said he believes that the death will lend support for a call of mandatory evacuation, particularly of persons in low laying areas.
The Queen’s Cove area is synonymous with flooding and Hurricane Sandy spared no home in the area. Even after the passing of the storm, it was impossible to drive through the area.
Such was also the case of the Grand Bahama International Airport, which suffered severe flooding to the ramp, parking areas and the domestic terminal.
Dr Darville met with airport officials on Saturday afternoon and determined that it would be some time before the domestic terminal is operational. The facility was partially under water and filled with debris. Cars in the parking area were damaged, apparently from floating around during the storm.
According to Dr Darville, the one bit of good news was that the airport’s International section was not flooded and was scheduled to welcome flights once again on Sunday.
He said his Ministry will be working with officials at the airport to find a solution for domestic flights, as there is currently no area to welcome passengers from New Providence and the other islands.
There was some damage to other buildings and machinery and the fuel area at the airport.
On Sunday most of the water had receded and a cleanup process was underway.
Dr Darville also noted severe flooding in West End and East End. The Fishing Hole Road was flooded, blocking access to west Grand Bahama from the rest of the island.
But what was surprising to many on the site visit was the severe flooding that occurred in areas near the Grand Lucayan Waterway, particularly around Churchill Drive and the Lady Lakes subdivision. The high rise in water also blocked the access road to east Grand Bahama, cutting off those residents from the city of Freeport.
Dr Darville also pointed out that some residents also experienced flooding in east Grand Bahama.
He had high praise for the members of the local disaster committee. He was pleased to note that all the shelters were functioning properly. Likewise, he stressed that residents were being timely informed about the storm and that the Department of Social Services, National Emergency Management Agency and the Urban Renewal teams from throughout the district have started their work in assessing damage and relief efforts.
He also said that the Grand Bahama Power Company had started to restore electricity to the island from about 6pm on Saturday, and, likewise, the Grand Bahama Utility Company would be up and running.