NEARLY 1,000 Bahamians have already volunteered to evacuate their homes in the southern islands and temporarily relocate in New Providence as Hurricane Irma churns its way toward the country.
According to Captain Stephen Russell, director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), 82 people will leave Acklins, 55 from Crooked Island, 155 from Mayaguana, 55 from Ragged Island and more than 600 persons will leave Great Inagua on Wednesday.
Anyone who refuses to leave will have to weather the storm in shelters available on their respective islands.
He said the Royal Bahamas Defence Force will also station advance teams of three to six marines who will “ride out the storm one way or the other.”
He said Tuesday night: “If there is an opportunity to get out of a potentially disaster stricken area, I would urge persons to come out and not take a chance and risk their lives.
“Homes, furniture and appliances we can replace, but there is no way in the world we can replace a life. If you are seriously injured as a result of the storm it can be a nag for you for the rest of your life not just physically but mentally because you had the opportunity to leave and refused to leave.”
Bahamasair, Pineapple Air and Sky Bahamas are assisting the government in this exercise.
The flights will begin at various times from as early as 7am in Inagua.
Additional flights from Inagua will leave at 11am, 3pm, 4.30pm and 5.15pm.
For Ragged Island, Captain Russell said Sky Bahamas will begin shuttling people out by 11.30am and 4.30pm.
Bahamasair’s flights are expected to arrive in New Providence beginning at 9.45am and ending at 5.15pm.