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Devastation Left In Irma’S Wake

Hurricane damage in Ragged Island.

Hurricane damage in Ragged Island.

By Khrisna Russell

Tribune Staff Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

HURRICANE Irma left Duncan Town, Ragged Island in a state of “devastation,” member of Parliament for the island Chester Cooper said yesterday, telling The Tribune the aftermath had left him “heartbroken”.

Mr Cooper, Exuma and Ragged Island MP, said it was “mind blowing” to have seen photographs of the ruin on the island left behind by Irma, as he likened the situation to a horrific scene from television.

Out of the 60 or 70 people who reside on Ragged Island, 21 stayed behind to ride out the storm, Captain Stephen Russell, National Emergency Management Agency director, told reporters on Saturday.

While the island fared much worse when compared with the remaining southern islands, no lives were lost and no one was injured, Mr Cooper said.

“I am absolutely heartbroken by what I see because all of the structures are very familiar,” Mr Cooper said.

“These are areas where I’ve spent quite a bit of time. But it’s an indication of devastation on the island, but this is like the heart of the town and these buildings are very well-constructed – the school, the clinic, the Ponderosa Resort – and if this happened to those buildings, I can only imagine what the residences on the island look like.

“It is mindblowing. It’s the kind of devastation you only see on TV. It reminds me of Joaquin in 2015 in the southeastern Bahamas.”

He added: “But in a nutshell, I am going there tomorrow (today). The winds were too strong today. If the winds subside hopefully I will be able to get in there tomorrow (today) to do a firsthand inspection and go to take some hurricane supplies for the residents who stayed and those who are very anxious about what they left. So they are going to go in tomorrow on my flight.”

Meanwhile, Capt Russell said based on various reports, he was encouraged by how well the southern islands fared during the hurricane.

Inagua

Apart from extensive damage to the Morton Salt compound in Inagua, island administrator Julita Ingraham said “God was really good” to the island.

However, Inagua remained without electricity yesterday.

She said: “What they have been able to do since the hurricane, because prior to the hurricane Morton Salt had put the machinery on the ground for us so the Defence Force officers and the Police officers they were able to clear the runway and the road, which is Gregory Street, the main street of Inagua they are able to clear that.

“They were also able to get the generator for the community clinic up and started and they were able to assess the various damage within the community.

“Inagua sustained just minimal damage.”

Ms Ingraham said residents of the island are in need of several items, which include: rakes, shingles, ice, water, plywood, nails, chainsaws, wheelbarrow and food.

There was minimal damage to the Inagua airport, but the Bahamasair office sustained damage, she said.

Mayaguana/Crooked Island

In Mayaguana, island administrator Earl Campbell said of the island’s 163 residents, 156 of them were evacuated. The remaining persons were left under the watch of three police officers.

“Some government buildings have roof damage (but) the high school in Abraham’s Bay and Pirates Well (there is) no serious damage,” he said.

“Mayaguana Airport runway was free of any large debris and there was no flooding nor the area where the ramp is (had flooding).

“Power lines (are) down in three major settlements: Betsy Bay, Abraham’s Bay and also Pirates Well.

“The sea wall in Pirates Well also had some damage.”

He said the roadways to all docks and all settlements were blocked from debris from the sea, adding most of the light flooding in areas were receding.

The Abraham’s Bay Police Station received roof damage and its communications tower is leaning, Mr Campbell said.

He added there were persons who are responsible for electricity and water who were evacuated last Wednesday and are now anxious to return home.

Telecommunications on the island is also in working condition.

Regarding Crooked Island and Long Cay, island administrator Leonard Dames Jr said there are numerous homes without shingles, which were blown off by Irma’s strong winds.

Apart from this, the airport remains in good condition, one utility pole is down and there is roof damage to the school in Colonel Hill, Crooked Island.

Comments

TalRussell 1 year, 2 months ago

Comrades! The Guardian Talk Radio's Carlton Smith, returned live-to air this morning - only to quickly criticize ZNS for its missing in Hurricane Irma coverage action whilst ZNS TV aired movies? I'm a guessing he didn't like listening to the 'non-stop music' Guardian Talk Radio was playing during da hurricane? { You just can't makeup airing this kinds Guardian Talk Radio station's lack of hurricane coverage responsibility}. Let's just say at least ZNS, gave the population some Hurricane Irma news coverage. The Guardian's talkie show hosts, were all staying dry - whilst on Hurricane Irma evacuation leave.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 2 months ago

Sophisticated algorithms run on super computers for the world's largest property and casualty insurers have determined, based on historical information as adjusted for the effects of global warming trends, that there is a 37% probability Nassau will take a direct hit from a catastrophic CAT 4 or 5 hurricane within the next decade. Moody's and S&P are now considering the use of such information in the models they use to forecast the creditworthiness outlook of sovereign nation debt.

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observer2 1 year, 2 months ago

Well Muddo take sic., you have raised a very important issue. The rating agencies will downgrade the Bahamas based on the probability of an Irma style strike in the next 5 to 10 years and our lack of insurance reserves or our ability to borrow for a major recovery effort.

I realize the FNM is working feverishly on hurricane relief to our hard-hit islands and we, as Bahamians, will all do what we can to help. However, I do believe the Bahamas government lacks the capacity to progress sound and progressive economic plans in parallel with hurricane recovery efforts. No offence to the FNM as the PLP lacked this ability as well.

Time is limited for the Bahamas’ financial system. If the FNM doesn’t start to think outside the box and if a hurricane like Imra hits the entire Bahamian island chain, the ability of the Bahamas to recover would be questionable at best and nonexistent at worst, as we have little capacity to borrow or resources.

Unfortunately, there is no quick fix or any series of knee jerk actions to solve these issues. Continuation of old and tired PLP/FNM policies and historical Bahamian economic fixes (such as massive single foreign investments such as Baha Mar and Atlantis) will not work going forward as this economic model is dead. Albeit the government doesn’t realize it. One good hurricane and Baha Mar will not reopen. It doesn’t even have an owner (other than the bank)!

We need rapid economic and structural liberalization, Bahamian privatization, southern island consolidation and most importantly the utilization of a massive amount of Bahamian and foreign brain power and intellectual capacity that has been left on the sidelines by the FNM and PLP for decades. Our brightest have left the country years ago. They have been replaced by ignorant politicians pontificating in the Guardian and Tribune day and night without a wooden penny to back it up.

Our problems range from the very large by decades of mismanagement of our energy plant and grid by BEC (which continues to this very day) all the way down to very small issues plaguing our youth like an underprivileged college student wiring $1,000 to her school and the bank charging her $150 in fees (most of which is bank profit and government taxes). The charge should be no more than $3.

Is anyone in power listening? I doubt it, let see how the hurricane season goes next year. Until then “it’s the peoples time”.

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VDSheep 1 year, 2 months ago

It seems from the scientific pundits that escalation of hurricanes will be the new normal. In lieu continuing the same path of building rectangular homes – instead we ought to build geodesic dome dwellings. They are the best protection from hurricanes – there are no better structures against hurricanes than domes - they also have other costs benefits for cooling and heating. The Bahamas is in the hurricane belt and we cannot change the courses of hurricanes – nor can we move the Bahamas out of harms’ way. What we can do is change the way we build our homes! Further ‘ our planners and authorities need to realize this and start the ball rolling to educate ‘ fund ‘ encourage and institute in the minds of Bahamians the change for building homes. Every household need to be almost individually independent of the grid; by having our own dome ‘ solar/wind/tidal power and water access – either a cistern (water tank) and or ground water or reverse osmosis. Our country is spread out with many islands and Cays. By having those platforms /disciplines (curriculum in schools ‘ research ‘ industry development ‘ bank/government financing ‘ legislation etc.) our people can survive a flourish. But it can only be achieved when our authorities (politicians etc.) comprehend the sense of it - and enact proper directives to accomplish it for the people. It will take time determination ‘ hard work ‘ financing – but most of all a mindset to change the way we live in these many islands and Cays.

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