Stills from videos showing the extent of flooding on Grand Bahama.
By TANEKA THOMPSON
Tribune News Editor
SEVERAL shelters in Grand Bahama were compromised and taking on water as rescue teams on the island mobilised to relocate residents to safer locations, according to State Minister for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson yesterday.
Giving a live update on ZNS News, Mr Turnquest described the situation on Grand Bahama as “serious” and “catastrophic.”
He said 50 residents of the Grand Bahama Children’s Home were relocated.
People at Christ the King auditorium, which was acting as a special needs hurricane shelter, were said to be in knee deep water. Earlier Monday, Mr Thompson said they would be moved to the Rand Memorial Hospital as soon as rescue teams could move them.
“In the area of Hilton Outten (Convention Centre), they have begun to take on water and so we are dialoguing, telling them to stay calm, we’re going to get to them as soon as we can,” he said.
“Unfortunately, all of the roads are impassable and so we should be able to get to them shortly. We had a special needs shelter, which is Christ the King auditorium and the hospital has begun to relocate those persons from the special needs shelter back to the hospital, to put those persons who need the immediate attention . . .they are going to find some room for them in the hospital.
“We have the Tabernacle Assemblies of God Auditorium also, we understand that’s also taking on water. We are asking those persons, because they do have a second floor, we are asking those persons to relocate to the second floor.”
A video was posted on Twitter showing conditions at the Christ the King shelter with water at knee level. Bedridden people were placed on the church’s stage to keep them out of flood water. However many shelter residents were seen walking through the flooded auditorium, as some of their possessions floated by.
Mr Turnquest also said officials planned to move some people from compromised buildings to the Grand Lucayan resort.
He told ZNS: “We’ve been able to move quite a few people. We had a serious challenge with the children’s home, we had to move about 50 kids from the children’s home. We were able to get them out and to a safe location.”
As slow-moving Category 4 Hurricane Dorian battered Grand Bahama with 150mph winds, Mr Turnquest said parts of the island were left completely flooded. Roads are impassable and Fishing Hole Road Bridge - which connects West Grand Bahama and Freeport - “is almost underwater,” he said.
“The water has made its way to the Mall Drive, it has made its way to the parking lot and that’s coming all the way from north all the way down past the downtown area and now to this building (where the Emergency Operations Centre is).”
He also said: “This has never occurred before, where we have had flooding throughout the downtown area all the way across Pioneer’s Way, all the way down the Mall Drive. Anyone who knows Freeport, that’s pretty much half the entire island covered in water.”
For those needing rescue, he said, many of them would have to wait until the water recedes; a number of areas are cut off because the roads are impassable.