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Hurricane Joaquin: Monday's Updates

7.30pm UPDATE: LONG Island residents from Petty’s to Salt Pond who have been affected by Hurricane Joaquin have been asked to meet at the NGM Major High School in Buckley's at 9am on Tuesday.

Island administrator Terrece Bootle Bethel has sent out the notice, according to an announcement sent from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Members of the Disaster Preparedness Committee are also asked to attend Tuesday’s meeting.

Also, residents from Gordon's to Hamilton in Long Island are to meet at Clarence Town's Community Centre at 9am on Tuesday.

Personnel from the Department of Social Services will be there to assist those in need.

Residents in New Providence who wish to provide assistance to their relatives and others impacted by the hurricane on Long Island are asked to call: (242) 337-3031.

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5.55pm UPDATE: Police Commissioner Ellison Greenslade has tweeted a plea to get those evacuated from Pitts Town Point, Crooked Island, who are now at Colonel Hill Airport, airlift to Nassau before sunset. However, the move to evacuate residents is a race against time - with sunset fast approaching and rules on flight take offs during daylight proving an obstacle to the process. The official sunset time is 6.53pm.

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US COAST GUARD TWEET

4.55pm UPDATE: The US Coast Guard has tweeted this footage of a lifeboat found in the El Faro search (left)

4.00pm UPDATE: How to help - our guide to Hurricane Joaquin relief efforts has been updated HERE

1.15pm UPDATE: An impact team from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force is in San Salvador, Acklins and Crooked Island to conduct damage assessments and assist local community leaders and agencies with organising and distributing food, water, clothing and shelter for immediate relief in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin.

The marines flew into Stella Maris, Long Island, on Sunday aboard civilian aircraft that were co-ordinated by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). They will be supported by HMBS Durward Knowles and Patrol Craft P-301, which were scheduled to arrive in Clarence Town, Long Island, late on Sunday.

A Defence Force aircraft will also assist the Red Cross with the transport of emergency medical supplies to Family Islands.

Acting Commander, Captain Tellis Bethel, has also assigned a senior naval officer to act as Liaison Officer aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Royal Navy vessel Lyme Bay, a 580ft amphibious ship that specialises in providing disaster relief assistance. While aboard the ship, Lt Cmdr Michael Saunders of the Defence Force will assist with co-ordination of relief efforts for islands in the central Bahamas.

1pm UPDATE: Bahamasair has announced that people scheduled to travel to Long Island, Acklins, Crooked Island and San Salvador over the next 90 days can change their itinerary without charge in the wake of Hurricane Joaquin.

Affected passengers may also request a refund by completing the refund form online at Bahamasair.com. People should contact the Reservations Department at 702-4140 or toll free from the United States at 1-800-222-4262.

12pm UPDATE: Genesis Academy has announced it is now a centre for receiving goods and non-perishables for victims of Hurricane Joaquin.

Melody Hanna, the principal, said people may bring donations directly to the school Campus #2 on Shirley Street, where a 20ft Tropical Shipping container will be parked.

11.30am UPDATE: The Minister of Transport and Aviation has advised that with effect from Saturday and until further notice, landing fees at all government airports will not be payable by any and all aircraft involved in the transport of relief goods to islands affected by Hurricane Joaquin, namely Long Island, San Salvador, Rum Cay, Acklins, Crooked Island, Inagua, Mayaguana and Cat Island.

10.15am UPDATE: The US Coast Guard says it has found the body of one crew member from the El Faro, the US-based cargo ship that sank during Hurricane Joaquin off the Bahamas.

Captain Mark Fedor said on Monday morning that an airborne crew spotted several survival suits floating amid debris from the El Faro. Most were empty but one had a body. A helicopter crew confirmed the person was dead but had to leave the body behind to continue the search for possible survivors.

Coast Guard cutters and aircraft and a US Navy plane continued searching the Atlantic Ocean for the missing crew as the rescue mission entered a fifth day. The ship's owners say it carried more than enough lifeboats and rafts for the crew.

Capt Fedor also said crews found one of two lifeboats from El Faro, but it had no people or signs of life. He says the ship had two lifeboats, and each can hold 43 people. The search continues for the 33 people - 28 Americans and five Poles - on board.

Chief Petty Officer Jon-Paul Rios said the Coast Guard and the ship's owner, TOTE Maritime, had concluded on Monday morning that the 790-foot container ship carrying cars sank after encountering Joaquin's high winds and heavy seas near Crooked Island last week.

Tim Nolan, President of TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico, said "the entire TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico family is distressed that it now appears the El Faro sank at or near its last known position on Thursday. We continue to hold out hope for survivors. Our prayers and thoughts go out to the family members and we will continue to do all we can to support them." He praised the "extraordinary" efforts and assistance of the US Coast Guard.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Edward Vallee said: "At the time the ship went missing, Joaquin was churning through the southeastern Bahamas with winds sustained at 125 mph. Seas were observed up to 30 feet along with blinding rain and strong winds."

10.15am UPDATE: A Furniture Plus van is outside Radio House in School Lane off Shirley Street and ready to take any donations of supplies for the hurricane-ravaged Family Islands. It will be there until 1pm on Monday as the Tribune Media Group's SOS - Save Our South campaign gets underway (see 9am update).

10am UPDATE: Don't miss Monday's Tribune for full coverage of the Hurricane Joaquin aftermath - with stories and photographs from the impacted areas.

MONDAY 9am UPDATE: The Tribune Media Group is partnering with SuperValue, Furniture Plus, New Oriental Laundry and Cleaners, Bahamasair, Island Cellular, Mario’s Bowling and Entertainment Palace and other corporate and private entities to launch a national campaign to raise $500,000 for food and other essential supplies for those so adversely affected by Hurricane Joaquin.

The ‘SOS - Save Our South’ campaign starts on Monday with the morning shows of the group’s radio stations - 100JAMZ, KISSfm, Y98fm and Joyfm - being broadcast live from 6am to 10am from locations throughout Nassau, appealing to Bahamians from all walks of life, as well as corporate sponsors, to drop off supplies and other donations.

The locations are Furniture Plus distribution centre off the East-West Highway by Abundant Life Road, New Oriental Laundry and Cleaners locations, Island Cellular locations, Mario’s Bowling and Entertainment as well as Radio House and The Tribune on Shirley Street. Cheques made out to ‘Tribune Radio Ltd’ can also be dropped off at Radio House or The Tribune. Items will be delivered to the distribution centre at the end of each day.

The campaign aims to build on and enhance the extraordinary relief efforts already underway and to help in co-ordinating the logistics and distribution of supplies.

The appeal continues to be for clothes and shoes, blankets, water, non-perishable food items such as canned food and rice, baby items, toiletries, female sanitary items, tarpaulins, school supplies and pet supplies, including cat and dog food.

These donated supplies will be flown by Bahamasair to San Salvador, Long Island, Crooked Island, Acklins and Rum Cay to provide desperately needed relief in the southern islands.

“In order to fulfil our mandate as the people’s newspaper and and radio stations we are once again joining forces with our partners and friends to provide a unified co-operative private-public partnership,” Robert Carron, President of the Tribune Media Group, said. “Regardless of our political affiliation, colour or creed, we are all Bahamians and we are all our brother’s and sister’s keepers.”

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