COMMUNICATION to the storm-battered central and southern islands remains challenged on Friday as officials report a total blackout on the hardest hit islands of Crooked Island, Long Island, and Acklins.
Capt Stephen Russell, of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), said: "Right now we have no communication to Crooked Island, Long Island, and Acklins because the cell service is down. There have been no reports of fatalities."
"We've been able to get reports from family members that have been in contact with residents in those areas," Mr Russell told ZNS. "We got reports that persons are trapped in their homes, and reported feeling as if their structures were caving in. It's too dangerous to go outside because the flood waters are so high, so we ask that persons stay inside and try to go into the most secure place of their home."
When asked about satellite phones and radio communication, Capt Russell said: "Satellite phones need to be charged, so when the power is down or they weren't charged fully or sufficiently in advance then that is a challenge."
Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) Chairman Leslie Miller said: "We're waiting on the all clear from NEMA to restore power. At the present time BEC is in no position to do much in the Family Islands. All of the airports are flooded, we have teams ready to go and we have staff on the islands but the crew on those islands aren't really that great. We have men ready to go to all of those islands as soon as we get the all clear, to restore power as soon as possible."
The Bahamas Telecommunication Company has confirmed landline, internet and mobile outages due to commercial power failure in southeastern islands: Acklins, Rum Cay, Crooked Island, Ragged Island, Mayaguana, Inagua, Rum Cay and Long Cay.
"BTC advises there are service disruptions in some areas as a result of this Category 4 system," the BTC press statement read. "Our technical teams are remotely assessing the extent of the disruptions. Once the all clear has been issued, our technical teams will be on the ground to begin service restorations.
"Though commercial connectivity has been lost in some pockets in the South East islands due to power outages, BTC remains in contact with its Family Island management teams via satellite phones."