Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis speaks on Friday afternoon.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis made a final plea on Friday to residents living in high-risk areas of Grand Bahama and Abaco to evacuate, warning that to ride out the dangerous storm could be a gamble with life.
During a live broadcast, Dr Minnis said after a meeting with Cabinet and the National Emergency Management Agency the government decided to institute an emergency evacuation of residents from the northern cays of Abaco to mainland Abaco.
Residents from West End, East End, Sweeting’s Cay, and Waters Cay were also urged to move to the interior of mainland Grand Bahama.
Hurricane Dorian is expected to cross Abaco and the Abaco Cays and impact most of Grand Bahama as a Category 4 storm Sunday and into Monday.
For those residents of Grand Bahama and Abaco, who wish to leave those islands, flights are being increased, Dr Minnis said during Friday's press conference at the Paul Farquharson Centre, Royal Bahamas Police Force Headquarters.
As he made the appeal, Dr Minnis said evacuations were underway. He further appealed to residents who are able to do so financially, to seek shelter among family members or other suitable accommodations for their safety.
But to those who refuse to take heed to the warnings, the prime minister stressed: “Let me be extremely clear: those who refuse to evacuate, place themselves in great danger from this very power and potentially life-threatening hurricane, which will bring dangerously strong and high storm surges, which is one of the greatest threats from a hurricane.
“Emergency personnel and assistance will be unavailable during the immediate impact of the hurricane for those in the projected path who do not evacuate.”
He also said: “Let me again make the strongest plea possible to the residents of North and Central Abaco and East Grand Bahama to evacuate their respective areas.
“Do not put your life and those of your loved ones at unnecessary risk. Do not be foolish and try to brave out this hurricane. The price you may pay for not evacuating is your life or serious physical harm.”
Those evacuating were reminded to bring with them identification including passports, NIB cards and other forms of ID, as well as medication, clothing and toiletries adequate for several days.
Dr Minnis further announced that the storm's passage was expected to delay the opening of schools at the affected islands.
For people in New Providence, while government offices closed at noon, only heavy rainfall is expected.
However, officials are urging all to prepare noting the unpredictability of hurricanes.