THE Rand Memorial Hospital in Freeport is fully operational with full power and all essential services restored after Hurricane Matthew, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) reported last night.
The agency also reported that the High Rock and McClean’s Town Clinics in East Grand Bahama are open and services restored. The flooded temporary clinic at West End has been re-opened in another location in the community.
The Eight Mile Rock Clinic will continue its regular operations, including extended clinic hours, and will assume responsibility for services in the West End community as well.
Matthew swept throughout Grand Bahama with hurricane-force winds in excess of 150mph, damaging much of the residences and infrastructure on the southern shoreline, from East to West End. The storm brought the island to a standstill, crippling business and commerce, with devastation impacting the daily lives of all residents. NEMA said the level of damage is severe, and the impact to the livelihood of the people remains a serious challenge.
The agency reported that the Department of Social Services is providing accommodation for seventy one displaced residents left in shelters, the majority of whom are from West Grand Bahama including the Pinder’s Point and Lewis Yard area. Counseling services are in place for the residents. Preliminary reports indicate that 525 social assessments - more than half coming frfom West End (153), Jones Town (72) and Pinedale (71) - have been completed to so far.
“This work will continue, with added trained field workers from New Providence joining the Social Services teams in Grand Bahama,” last night’s report said.
Urban Renewal 2.0 is also working within the communities offering assistance with food and humanitarian aid.
NEMA said the Department of Environmental Health Services has “increased its surveillance in most vulnerable areas, and is providing updates to the Grand Bahama communities on a regular basis. Clean up crews have been working within the various settlements to ensure that standing bodies of water is treated and garbage and disaster generated debris are collected and disposed of properly.”
The Grand Bahama Utility Company (GBUC) is reported to have started restoring supply to its customers, with two of the six major well fields brought back online and regular potable water supply has been connected to 80 percent or more of the City of Freeport. Water supply in East Grand Bahama was uninterrupted throughout the Hurricane as the High Rock Well Fields stayed operational.
“Limited potable water supply is currently being pumped to substations in West Grand Bahama, providing potable water to residents in Eight Mile Rock to West End. GBUC is currently working on repairing ruptured mains in the western end of the island to quickly restore full supply to the respective communities, and will continue to restore water supply, in a phased manner, over the next few days and weeks, as damaged infrastructure is repaired.”
The Grand Bahama Power Company had by Wednesday restored power to more than 4,000 customers with increasingly more homes and businesses being reconnected to the power grid in the City of Freeport. The company is being assisted by its international partners and accordingly, 200 additional support staff and 100 additional emergency repair vehicles to supplement its on-island workforce have arrived in Grand Bahama.
The majority of hotels suffered major roof and/or infrastructural damage and are undergoing repairs. The Pelican Bay Hotel has resumed business and the Lighthouse Point is proposing October 24 as their re-opening date.
Grand Bahama airport is open for emergency and domestic flights only. The domestic terminal, as well as the international terminal/United States pre-clearance facility, experienced roof damages. Re-commissioning will follow the restoration of power and water; as well as the full operation of all navigational equipment. The Seaport is open for emergency cargo services only and other limited services. The Freeport Container Port is experiencing some challenges.
All government buildings were impacted in one way or another. Most services to the public are limited and will increase over the next several weeks as essential services are returned to normalcy.
Many humanitarian gestures from businesses, individuals and service organisations have reached the various communities. The Bahamas Red Cross Society, Rotary Clubs and other service clubs as well as churches and civic groups, have moved throughout the communities with supplies.