• LIVE COVERAGE OF HURRICANE DORIAN WILL CONTINUE HERE
10.55pm UPDATE: AS THE Hurricane Dorian death toll has now rocketed to a “catastrophic” 43, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the country’s grief begins with all of the families who have lost loved ones. In a statement released Friday night following a Cabinet meeting, the prime minister said the official death count is 35 in Abaco and eight in Grand Bahama. Full story HERE
10.35pm UPDATE: Health Minister Dr Duane Sands said the death toll now stands at 43.
8.50pm UPDATE: THE Colonial Group has pledged to support hurricane victims in The Bahamas following the impact of Hurricane Dorian on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
In a statement on Friday, the insurer and pensions provider said it has been “closely monitoring the impact” and “positioning staff and resources to help people in need”.
“The hurricane is clearly a massive catastrophe for The Bahamas, particularly for the residents of Grand Bahama and the Abaco Islands, which were subjected to the worst of Dorian’s fierce power.
“Our first concern is for the safety and needs of residents and their families as they begin working to put their lives and that of their communities back together. Immediate relief has been sent via boat to our Freeport-based staff to help their personal recovery and the setting up of our operations.”
The group’s Bahamas-based companies – Atlantic Medical Insurance, Security and General Insurance and Nassau Insurance Brokers and Agents (NIBA) have set up temporary accommodation in Pelican Bay Hotel, Freeport, to start to receive claims, and loss adjustors are on the ground dealing with clients.
The statement continued: “Additional resources and supplies are being mobilised including nurses and staff from both Nassau and head office in Bermuda to provide support and distribute relief supplies, including critical medical supplies and care packages to our insureds.”
The company said it would continue to send resources and manpower to where it is needed most, adding: “Colonial Group will do its part to help The Bahamas get back on its feet.”
8.45pm UPDATE: From the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority: Airspace Directive No1 of 2019
In accordance with section 54 (2) of the Bahamas Civil Aviation Act No 22 of 2016, the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority hereby issues the following directives:
- The airspace defined in the schedule hereunder, is hereby designated as restricted airspace, until further notice.
- No civil aircraft shall fly in the area designated as restricted airspace expect for the purpose of delivering hurricane relief, humanitarian aid and performing search, rescue and recovery missions as approved by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) of the Bahamas.
Please contact the following persons at the telephone number opposite their respective names to register your aircraft and receive the necessary authorisation to fly in the restricted airspace:
• Charles Beneby, Director General of the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: (242) 823-5488 or 424-6842
• Julia Brathwaite, Manager of Safety Oversight at the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority
E-mail: email@example.com. Tel: (242) 376-0830
• Lequelle Cleare, Inspector at The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority.
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: (242) 677-0501
• Tamiko Johnson, Inspector at the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority
E-mail: email@example.com Tel: (242) 433-3631
• Jaime D Nixon, Aviation Safety Analysis at the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority
E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: (242) 376-9744
The Airspace restriction is situated from the surface to 6,000 ft and is located within the following coordinates:
Then clockwise by the arc of a circle radius 15NM which is centre on the west end distance measure equipment fixed point at coordinates:
A visual illustration with designated restricted area outlined in red is attached for east of reference.
8.45pm UPDATE: Former Attorney General Alfred Sears has criticised the process of evacuating people from Abaco – saying there is no justice for the poor when it comes to getting people out of the hurricane-hit area.
In an open letter to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, the former PLP MP said that he spent six hours yesterday “trying desperately and unsuccessfully to evacuate my family members from Abaco”.
He said: “My niece, Jennifer Sears, her companion, Myron Delancy, and her four children (ages one, three, five and eight), lost everything they owned in Murphy Town, Abaco, during Hurricane Dorian. My brother, Peter Sears, his wife, Collette Sears, who is disabled, their two sons and a disabled daughter lost everything they owned in Murphy Town as well. After the hurricane, with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they managed to get to the Sandy Point airport to be evacuated to Nassau. Hopefully, we will get them out today.”
However, while trying to get his family out, Mr Sears said he saw a great disparity in the treatment of people.
He said: “As I observed the desperate survivors arrive from Abaco, it seems that there is no justice for poor people in The Bahamas. Only Government officials, wealthy companies, the critically injured, US citizens or those with means or influence are being evacuated from Abaco.”
He called for the government to follow international practices, saying: “The global humanitarian practice is to first evacuate, free of charge, all of victims of a national or traumatic disaster to a safe and secure location with proper facilities; then secure and protect the disaster areas; then assess the damage; and then implement a rational restoration plan, based on national policies.
“God help the average Bahamian person, who is not a priority even in the aftermath of this national disaster. What I saw yesterday in the faces of Bahamians and friends arriving from Abaco is a sad reflection of the total collapse of the Bahamian state, leaving thousands of Bahamians bruised for life.”
Mr Sears said he also spoke to Jamaican Defence Force officers with a specialist plane that came to conduct aerial mapping of Abaco and Grand Bahama, but who were grounded because they could not get priority clearance from Civil Aviation to fly and had to abandon their mission yesterday.
He urged the government to take action to help victims, saying: “Evacuate the people, who want to leave, out of these intolerable conditions, without charge, to secure locations where they can be processed, counseled, reunited with family members and assisted, over time, to get back on their feet!”
7pm UPDATE: Bahamasair relief flights scheduled for Abaco and Grand Bahama:
7.00am Nassau to Marsh Habour
9.00am Marsh Harbour to Nassau
10.30am Nassau to Freeport
12.30pm Freeport to Nassau
2.00pm Nassau to Freeport
3.30pm Freeport to Nassau
5.00pm Nassau to Marsh Harbour
6.30pm Marsh Harbour to Nassau
Relief flights into Treasure Cay
3.00pm Nassau to Treasure Cay
4.45pm Treasure Cay to Nassau
Flights from all locations are free and persons wishing to secure passage from Abaco are advised to report to the Marsh Harbour or Treasure Cay airports. In the case of Freeport, passengers are asked to register with the City Ticket Office in the Culmersville Plaza, daily from 7am to 3pm. The public is reminded that these are relief flights and not scheduled flights therefore they cannot be booked through Bahamasair’s reservations system.
6.30pm UPDATE: The Disney Fantasy is expected to drop off food and water at Castaway Cay on Saturday for distribution in Sandy Point, Abaco, an island which is home to many of the Disney Cruise Line's crew members. The Disney Dream previously dropped off supplies on Thursday. More deliveries are expected in the coming days. This is just the beginning, the company said, as Disney has pledged more than $1 million to help their friends, neighbours and coworkers in the Bahamas.
4.40pm UPDATE: Bahamasair resumed service in Treasure Cay, Abaco yesterday and commenced emergency relief flights into Marsh Harbour today. The airline will advise of emergency relief flights for Freeport as soon as the all clear is given. For those who may have misinterpreted earlier communications, Bahamasaur has confirmed that all persons wishing to leave Abaco will be provided passage FREE OF CHARGE.
4.20pm UPDATE: From the Associated Press: Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis spoke to a crowd gathered at the port in Great Abaco, using the help of a Creole interpreter for a group of Haitians awaiting evacuation after Hurricane Dorian.
He told those from the Haitian community – which has suffered intentionally set fires in recent years, they'll be treated with respect and there will be no discrimination.
Minnis urged families with children to keep their children in school when they reach Nassau, adding that the government will keep providing food and health care.
Minnis said he was satisfied with the speed of the government's response, noting that the U.S. Coast Guard was helping. But he also said officials still need medical equipment and supplies and heavy equipment to go through rubble.
He pledged that search and rescue teams are making every effort to find bodies in Abaco. Officials say 30 people have been confirmed dead in the Bahamas, but the toll is sure to rise.
• U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio says the Bahamas immediately needs the U.S. Department of Defense's resources to deliver aid in the Abaco islands, saying distribution is impossible in the region that was devastated by Hurricane Dorian.
Rubio said via Twitter on Friday that defence resources need to be approved "to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe."
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and the two U.S. senators from the state travelled to the Bahamas on Friday to see the damage.
Rubio also said the main hospital in Freeport, Bahamas, needs supplies and that fuel tanks in Grand Bahama flooded causing oil to spill over the top.
2.45pm UPDATE: From Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty: In addition to our operational offices acting as drop-off points for supplies and donations, Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty is accepting donations via PayPal and GoFundMe.As of today, The Winslow Family and The Sands Family Foundation with the support of Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty and ONE Sotheby’s International Realty (Miami, FL), have raised $401,083 from 1,700 donors through a GoFundMe campaign (Tax ID:16-1347201), all of which will go directly toward disaster relief for Hurricane Dorian.
The Winslow-Sands Family Foundation GoFundMe Donations can be made here:
PayPal Donations c/o Damianos Sotheby's International Realty:
Name: Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty
Phone: +1 242 362 4211
2pm UPDATE: The United Nations said Friday that the International Office on Migration is providing 1,000 tarps to replace roofs stripped from homes by Hurricane Dorian on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama.
U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said the migration office stressed that the priority right now is search and rescue operations. He says that after everyone has been rescued and the wounded safely evacuated, the agency will focus on providing temporary shelter for those who lost their homes.
Dujarric said the World Health Organization reports it's focusing on providing clinical care, food supplies, safe drinking water and sanitation to survivors.
Officials say 30 people have been confirmed dead in the Bahamas, but the toll is sure to rise.
1.45pm UPDATE: Police wish to inform the public that the Character Reference Office (police record) on University Boulevard will open on Saturday from 9am to 1pm to assist persons from Abaco who wish to travel to the United States with police record certificates.
11.15pm UPDATE: From the US Embassy in Nassau: The United States government remains completely dedicated to search, rescue, recovery, and relief efforts as The Bahamas grapples with the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian.
In the early hours of September 5, U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers greeted 57 members of the Virginia Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue team upon their arrival at the Odyssey Aviation Bahamas terminal in New Providence. The team will join members of the U.S. Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and Bahamian partners helping people in Grand Bahama and Abaco affected by Hurricane Dorian. The Task Force is attached to the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department, bringing 57 people and 4 canine units.
A plane-load of relief supplies from USAID also touched down at Odyssey Aviation on September 4 to help those affected by Hurricane Dorian. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and OFDA will work together to distribute enough supplies to help 31,500 people. The supplies include: 600 hygiene kits to prevent disease; 2,400 buckets and containers for safe drinking water; 450 rolls of plastic sheeting to provide shelter and four chainsaws to remove debris.
Ongoing U.S. Coast Guard Search and Rescue Operations
As of September 5 at 9:00 am, the U.S. Coast Guard has rescued a total of 135 people and six pets in The Bahamas since Hurricane Dorian began. The U.S. Coast Guard is conducting air operations based out of Andros Island using seven MH-60 Jayhawk helicopters and three MH-65 Dolphin helicopters. In addition to helicopters, several Coast Guard cutters conducted assessments throughout Grand Bahama.
Captions for Photos:
Help Has Arrived 2 and 3:
Help Has Arrived 4: Etta, a canine unit with the Virginia Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue team, arrives in Nassau in the early hours of September 5, 2019.
10.45am UPDATE: Public Directed to NEMA for Inquiries Regarding Relatives Impacted by Hurricane Dorian: The Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) advises that all inquiries regarding relatives who may have been evacuated from Abaco and Grand Bahama for medical care to the Princess Margaret Hospital be directed to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA). NEMA serves as the official agency facilitating the identification of the injured and deceased. NEMA can be contacted at the following numbers 322-6081, 322-6082, 322-6083, 322-6084 and 322-6085.
Representatives from the Department of Social Services and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) are posted at NEMA to render assistance. Patients who have been treated and discharged from hospital but have no accommodations in New Providence, are being accommodated at the Kendal G.L. Isaacs Gym. Persons wishing to verify the location of discharged relatives can call telephone numbers 604-4219,604-4275, 604-4209 and 604-4203.
• They went in thinking they were well prepared for Hurricane Dorian - but it turned into a week of hell for the reporting team from The Tribune, trapped inside Abaco first through the passage of the deadly storm itself and then trying to find a way out of an island cut off from the outside world. Reporter RASHAD ROLLE relives his experience inside an island affected by death, destruction, looting and people trying to find a way to get through the storm. With photographs and video by TERREL W CAREY – FULL STORY HERE
• From the Associated Press: A few meager possessions stuffed in plastic bags, some of the haggard Bahamians who lost homes to the ravages of Hurricane Dorian are waiting at a small airport hoping to catch planes out of the disaster zone as an international humanitarian effort to help the Caribbean country gains momentum and the death toll has risen to 30 – Full story HERE