By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THERE is still no clarification on how relief efforts for those southern islands ravaged by Hurricane Joaquin would be carried out as communications systems are still down.
A team organised by Trans Island Airways executives and Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner were attempting on Saturday morning to mobilise supplies and support teams to as many of the affected islands as possible, but the uncertainty over the infrastructure has delayed those plans.
Organisers are attempting to fly an assessment team over "as many" of the affected islands to ascertain the most feasible approach to get needed supplies in to those islands.
Paul Aranha, owner of Trans Island Airways, told the Tribune that this morning's assessment flight will cover Long Island, Acklins and Crooked Island; and if weather permits, Rum Cay and San Salvador.
He said: "We have enough fuel to cover all of those islands and we intend to fly over as many as possible to determine which ones we can get planes and relief supplies into."
Long Island, Acklins and Crooked Island were among the hardest hit southern Bahamas islands by Hurricane Joaquin over the last three days. Residents in Long Island have described the storm as “the worst we’ve ever seen”.
There has been little to no communication with the other two islands, with the latest being reports of severe flooding and destructive winds.
Father Keith Cartwright, who with Mrs Butler-Turner is leading Saturday's assessment flight, declared from the runway in Nassau: "We are taking off now on our mission of mercy."
Three donation sites have been established across New Providence: Odyssey Aviation at Nassau International Airport, the Seahorse Institute on Soldier Road north of Prince Charles Drive; and The Kitchen Deli on Shirley Street.
Priority supplies are bottled water, non-perishable food items, hand sanitiser or wipes, batteries, flashlights and tools.
Persons wishing to aid relief efforts can contact Matt Albury at 477-3134. For more information visit https://www.youcaring.com/family-island-residents-affected-by-hurricane-joaquin-443828