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Hurricane Dorian Updates: Death Toll Now Stands At 43

Evacuees gather at Marsh Harbour Port in Abaco, Friday. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

Evacuees gather at Marsh Harbour Port in Abaco, Friday. (Al Diaz/Miami Herald via AP)

• 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:

  1. The airspace defined in the schedule hereunder, is hereby designated as restricted airspace, until further notice.
  2. 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: charles.beneby@bcaa.gov.bs. Tel: (242) 823-5488 or 424-6842

• Julia Brathwaite, Manager of Safety Oversight at the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority

E-mail: juliea.brathwaite@bcaa.gov.bs. Tel: (242) 376-0830

• Lequelle Cleare, Inspector at The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority.

E-mail: lequelle.cleare@bcaa.gov.bs. Tel: (242) 677-0501

• Tamiko Johnson, Inspector at the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority

E-mail: tamiko.johnson@bcaa.gov.bs Tel: (242) 433-3631

• Jaime D Nixon, Aviation Safety Analysis at the Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority

E-mail: jdnixon.aaid@gmail.com. Tel: (242) 376-9744

Schedule:

The Airspace restriction is situated from the surface to 6,000 ft and is located within the following coordinates:

270000N 0760000W

255000N 0760000W

255000N 0774000W

260000N 0774000W

260000N 0790000W

262617N 0790000W

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A visual illustration with designated restricted area outlined in red.

Then clockwise by the arc of a circle radius 15NM which is centre on the west end distance measure equipment fixed point at coordinates:

264118N 0785842W

265542N 0785352W

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.

Twitter

Relief for Abaco

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.

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From Marco Rubio

• 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:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/hurricane-relief-for-elbow-cay-amp-marsh-harbour.

PayPal Donations c/o Damianos Sotheby's International Realty:

https://www.paypal.com/myaccount/transfer/homepage/pay

 Name: Damianos Sotheby’s International Realty

Email: Info@SIRbahamas.com

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.

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Help Has Arrived 1: U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers welcomes 57 members of the Virginia Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue team to Nassau in the early hours of September 5, 2019.

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.

photo

Boxes of USAID relief supplies are unloaded in Nassau on September 4, 2019; supplies totaled 600 hygiene kits to prevent disease, 2,400 buckets & containers for safe drinking water, 450 rolls of plastic sheeting to provide shelter, and 4 chainsaws to help remove debris.

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.

photo

A scene of destruction in Abaco.

• 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

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks, 3 days ago

Many thanks to U.S. Senators Rick Scott (R-FL) and Marco Rubio (R-FL) for all of their kind words of support and keeping the spotlight focused on the continuing crisis situation of the people in Abaco and Grand Bahama who were impacted in the worst possible way by the devastating effects of category 5+ Hurricane Dorian.

The Bahamian people also owe a great debt of gratitude to the tireless efforts of U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Stephanie Bowers in assisting with the organization and coordination of the U.S. government's exemplary humanitarian endeavours for our fellow Bahamians in Abaco and Grand Bahama.

And, of course, enough kind words of appreciation cannot be said about all of the help being received from the brave men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and other U.S. government agencies.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Has the Minnis-led FNM government authorized the relocation to Nassau of obvious Haitian nationals who have no official documents to evidence that they were legally residing in Abaco or Grand Bahama?

The government of Haiti has apparently adopted the very convenient position that it will not accept repatriation back to Haiti of Haitian nationals in Abaco or Grand Bahama unless the Bahamian government is able to prove to the Haitian government's satisfaction, through official documents, that they are indeed Haitian nationals and were residing in the Bahamas illegally. Unbelievable!

Brace yourselves Nassuvians for a massive influx of illegal Haitian aliens to New Providence.

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Lets pray red tape has not prevented a comrade Florida man who wishes to remain anonymous who spent more than $49,000 on electrical generators and household goods to be shipped to the Bahamaland?
CNN reported that a man was spotted at Costco buying generators to be shipped Out Islands. A single Costco generator of the make/model the man was buying cost $450 each and this guy is purchasing over '100' generators and food to send to the Bahamaland.
There still are good people in the world!"

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Hopefully the Minnis-led government has enough sense to realise that the hundreds and hundreds of corpses in Abaco, that are by now in an advanced state of decomposition, should not be transferred to any other island in the Bahamas for public safety reasons.

A temporary holding facility and/or mass burial site in an appropriate location on Abaco will undoubtedly be needed. Family members and the public should be informed of the government's plans for identifying and disposing of the remains of those who have perished. The bodies of loved ones not found could be deemed to have been buried at an appropriate location in Abaco. Have these matters been thought through yet?

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TalRussell 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Told officially unaccounted for bodies seen floating?
If according the comrade prime minister, the Bahamalandsair flights evacuate Out Islanders are Free' - then are reports false that the passengers being charged 'something like $75' which is less than the regular once way ticket price, yes, no ...

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joeblow 2 weeks, 2 days ago

The PM is allowing his emotions and not reason to guide his decisions and is getting ready to transfer a horde of criminality to Nassau. Those with work permits or passports can be confirmed through the department of immigration and all others who cannot prove entry into this country should be repatriated post haste.

Minnis obviously overlooks the fact that what is left of the Bahamian middle class will be the ones to bear the burden of paying for all this.

BTW I hope they confiscate some of those Haitian guns!

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bahamianson 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Joe blow, I hear you, but if he doesn't, according to the former posts, he will be moving too slowly. Next complaint...too much red tape.if he moves too quickly, people will say, where are the checks and balances. You will always please only half the population all the time.

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Has GB Power made any public anouncements on our electricity restoration? Rumors are killing us. Latest rumor says plant was damaged in the storm and its going to be months before its back on.

GB Power needs to inform the public of our situation. Should we stay or should we leave?

All they need to do is inform us, no one is expecting a miracle but it'd be good to know what's happening...

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Zakary 2 weeks, 2 days ago

Rumors are killing us.

The much feared "information vacuum". When there is a lack of constant and credible information from the relevant authorities, everything becomes chaotic...

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 2 days ago

PM says Nassau cannot acomodate all the victims. Talking stupid about putting up tents.

Can some tell Minnis the government owns a hotel in Freeport that can acomodate about 2000....

Sheesh.....

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 weeks, 1 day ago

He should know....after all he foolishly had the government pay Hutchison Whampoa at least $65 million for the Grand Lucayan Hotel and then proceeded to have government spend many additional millions of dollars in renovating it.

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Pricklypear 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Mudda. Im an ‘outsider’ from CA. I want to say that I appreciate your well thought out and informative comments. We are subjected to a lot of whitewashed information over here. This Tribune resource and the Bahama Press are giving is the most local and likely closest to the Truth of the situation. Nothing is perfect. Please know - all of you locals who post- those of us who care out here want to hear from you. I skip CNN, BBC 90% of the time and try to find local residents who can tell us what they know. I’m horrified. Just at a loss for words. Unbelievable

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paul_vincent_zecchino 2 weeks, 1 day ago

Outsider from FL Gulf Coast, here. Venice, FL, airport as are many others, accepting donations of needed items to fly to Freeport and Abaco.

US military, Customs, and Coast Guard all flying in supplies, flying out evacuees.

ZNS-1 AM 1540 and on net via streaming another good source.

Many locals in our area dropping off rescue supplies daily.

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proudloudandfnm 2 weeks, 1 day ago

No my friend not one tiny part of it has been renovated...

Anyone say any different they're lying

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