Bahamas Grapples With Aftermath of Hurricane Matthew


The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in Exuma. (Photo credit: Quilla Fang/The Bahamas Weekly)

NASSAU, Bahamas, Friday October 7, 2016
– The Bahamas continues to grapple with the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew, the lethal storm that lashed the chain of islands with widespread flooding yesterday, forcing residents to flee their homes, damaging structures and downing trees and power lines.

Matthew’s effect spans from fallen trees and power lines to damaged homes.

In response to the loss of power and the widespread damage around the island, Bahamas Red Cross response teams have prepared 12,000 food kits, including canned food, rice, sugar, and flour— enough for 6,000 people for three days, according to the organization’s official statement.

The Bahamas National Emergency Agency told the Associated Press yesterday that authorities have rescued at least 30 people who were trapped in their homes by floodwaters on the island of New Providence.

Storm surge in Faith Gardens in southern New Providence also forced residents from their homes Thursday, The Nassau Guardian reports.

“At one point there wasn’t anything, just a lot of breeze,” 15-year-old resident Ebony Thompson told the newspaper. “Then all of a sudden, the water went from nothing to two feet of water.”

The Bahamas Department of Meteorology issued an all clear for islands in the Southeast Bahamas, including Inagua, Ragged Island, Mayaguana, Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Cay and Samana Cay, the Bahamas Press reports. However, residents have been advised to exercise caution when going out because there may be downed power lines and possibly contaminated standing water. Roads and pathways could also be impassable due to debris, fallen trees and other hazardous materials.

RUBIS Bahamas said it foresees an extensive cleanup effort after at least two of the company’s service stations in New Providence sustained substantial damages, Tribune242 reports. The roof of the company’s garage on East Bay Street collapsed and one in western New Providence reportedly lost its entire roof.

A family in Pinewood had to be evacuated after the roof of their home caved in Thursday morning, Tribune242 also reports. The family was able to make it out to safety on their own.

The Department of Meteorology in Nassau had to be evacuated to the Nassau Airport after a window shutter came loose and the window was shattered by strong winds, according to the Miami Herald.

Smith’s Hotel also had to be evacuated after its roof was blown off, and Riu Palace sustained extensive exterior damage with part of the facade ripped off, exposing rooms.

Lynden Pindling International Airport will remain closed today as the Nassau Airport Development Company begins its clean up operation.

Bahamas Power and Light said yesterday that it was preparing to begin its initial stage of restoration in New Providence. The utility had already carried out assessments of its Blue Hills Power Station, as well as several substations, and is now prepared to provide service to critical departments such as the Princess Margaret Hospital and the Royal Bahamas Police Force Headquarters.

At 11 a.m., Hurricane Matthew’s western eyewall was brushing portions of the northeast coast of Florida.(The Weather Channel)

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