By JADE RUSSELL
AS Hurricane Fiona brought storm conditions their way, there was a concern in Mayaguana about a lack of material to secure homes and buildings.
The Department of Meteorology issued a tropical storm warning for the southeast islands that included Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Samana Cay, Long Cay, and Ragged Island.
Yesterday, The Tribune contacted Mayaguana Island administrator Keffieann Ferguson who said the major challenge the island faced was a lack of equipment and plywood to build shutters to secure homes and buildings.
Ms Ferguson said some of the residents were evacuated to Exuma, either because they were at risk or vulnerable.
“The medical doctor here, Dr Crystal Rolle, she presented a few names of persons with comorbidities who she felt would have been vulnerable in the event we were cut off due to flooding,” Ms Ferguson said.
Ms Ferguson added that there were 175 residents on the island of Mayaguana. She said there were three major shelters, a shelter in each settlement which should have been able to accommodate all of the residents.
Mayaguana Chief Councilor Huel Williamson also spoke to The Tribune earlier yesterday, he said wind gusts were between 35-40 miles an hour coming out of the northwest on the island.
He shared similar sentiments of Ms Ferguson as he noted the island did its best to prepare for Hurricane Fiona despite some challenges faced.
One resident of Mayaguana, Persis Charlton, said that in addition to the limited supplies on the island there was also a challenge of getting drinking water.
“We had a water issue here (with) drinking water, but the mailboat came so that was kind of resolved,” she said.
Ms Charlton explained that had the boat not come residents would have had no access to drinking water.
Ms Charlton, who also actively serves in the Red Cross, stressed that preparations should not be done at the last minute, especially as the country is in hurricane season. She said agencies such as NEMA can be more efficient.
“I feel that we have sufficient time to get the necessary supplies to the island even if they have to be housed in a dry safe place until that point of time has arrived. I have issues with persons trying to get supplies when the storm already formed. We have ample time from June 1 to November 30 to have the necessary supplies on the ground.”
Marlon Leary, the administrator for Inagua, said that residents have prepared for Hurricane Fiona with hopes the island would not get the full brunt of the storm.
He explained in terms of preparation the island did not face any challenges.
He also said the island had three major shelters open.
“We made sure to put out the message to the residents to prepare themselves to protect their family, their property, their life. And we’ve been preparing and getting the shelters ready,” he said.
Mr Leary added that officials from the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Social Services, Environmental Health, and other agencies have been helpful in the process of preparation.
When asked if the residents were taking the weather warnings seriously, Mr Leary said he believes the majority of residents do, but then there are some who have chosen not to.