By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
AS Hurricane Dorian continues to barrel its way toward The Bahamas bringing with it potentially devastating winds, rain and storm surge, Abaco residents are preparing for the worst.
While New Providence, Eleuthera, Abaco, Grand Bahama, North Andros, Bimini, and the Berry Islands all remained under hurricane alert up to press time yesterday, officials expressed serious concern for Abaco, which was projected to take a direct hit from the storm.
Calling this “the line of fire”, North Abaco island administrator Terrece Bootle Laing said Abaconians were taking Dorian very seriously.
She said there was an added layer of concern as officials consider the well-being on those living in shanty towns.
“We are on the ground making all the necessary preparations and making sure the shelters are all prepared to operate when and if people utilise them. So we are fuelling back-up generators and securing government buildings and those kinds of things.
“Marsh Harbour is a beehive right now. Everyone is trying to get what they need to weather this storm. This is from water to food to building supplies and sand. People are out and about acquiring what they think is necessary.
“But there may be one or two persons who aren’t taking this seriously and we want them to take all necessary preparations to ready themselves. We know we are in the line of fire and we are doing all we can to ensure that we hunker down for Dorian’s arrival.”
Nearly 1,000 households comprise the Mud, Pigeon Peas, Farm Road and Sandbanks shanty towns along with similar communities in L&H (Treasure Cay) and Elbow Cay.
With sub-par housing and poor living conditions ordinarily a threat to safety, officials want residents as far possible to utilise various official and unofficial shelters on the island.
“For the mainland, which is North Abaco, the main shelter is Faith Walk Church of God. We have others that will open but aren’t officially designated.
“The Haitian church in Treasure Cay has agreed to shelter the migrant community as well and others like the Fox Town School will also be accepting those in need of alternative housing to ride out the storm.”
Mrs Bootle Laing continued: “We are communicating with them and we have persons on the ground letting them know where they can seek shelter and find safety until the storm passes because this is one of our major concerns.
“We just want to ensure the migrant population is also safe.”
Abaco is expected to feel the effects of the storm Sunday and Monday.