NEMA Morning Briefing No.6 (September 13, 2019)

News and Press Release
Originally published
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Authored by: National Emergency Management Agency
Source: National Emergency Management Agency
Date: September 13, 2019

Guests - International Organisations

  • Liz Riley - Deputy Executive Director of Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, CDEMA
  • Dr Naqib Safi, Team Leader United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
  • Dr Erin Huey - Director, Pacific Disaster Centre
  • Regis Chapman - Head Office, Caribbean Emergency Preparedness and Response, World Food Programme

1.Weather: Update from Trevor Basden, Director, Bahamas Department of Meteorology

A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the islands of the Northwest Bahamas which includes: Eleuthera, Andros, New Providence, Abaco, Grand Bahama, Bimini and The Berry Islands.

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions could affect the mentioned islands within 36 hours.

Tropical storm conditions could be expected within the Northwest Bahamas by later today.

The system is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches with isolated maximum amounts of 6 inches over the northwest bahamas through sunday. This will result in localized flooding in low-lying areas.

This system is not expected to produce siginificant storm surge.

SMITH: We want to reinforce what the Met office reported and say that NEMA is taking the necessary precautions.

A.The weather system will slow down logistics, but we have contingency plans in place.
B. In Grand Bahama, those with compromised roofs or damaged buildings should make preparations to move to the designated shelter, Church of the Ascension, during the late morning or early afternoon hours.
C. Provisions are being made for those in official shelters in all impacted areas. Monitoring and assessment is ongoing.

General Updates - Carl Smith, NEMA Spokesperson

  1. Update on Mass Care and Shelter Services


a. There are 71 people currently in shelters in Grand Bahama who are being supported by the government, and 3 people in a shelter at Central Abaco Primary School in Abaco.
b. 2,037 people remain in shelters in New Providence.
c. These numbers have stabilised over the past few days, as we are no longer receiving a lot of displaced people here from Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Missing Persons Register

a. There’s no change to the total number of missing people recorded on the register today. It still stands at 1,300.
b. The government is working with our NGO partners to draw on additional data processes and sources so we can locate missing persons and inform family members as quickly as possible.

  1. Update on the Progress of Transport

In regards to aviation, we are moving towards resuming regular aircraft operations.

a. The Bahamas Civil Aviation Authority is advising that the Temporary Flight Restriction is still in effect for Grand Bahama and Abaco, which means the airspace in these areas, is restricted.
b. To date, 653 air authorizations have been issued.
c. From today 13 September 2019, limited commercial traffic is allowed at a Grand Bahama International Airport. This is only available for aircraft operators with a local Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC).
d. In Marsh Harbour, a Temporary Air Control Tower is being established.

  1. Update on the Progress of Relief and Reconstruction

a. Teams on the ground in Abaco and Grand Bahama have been working hard to establish telecommunications and improve the reliability of communications on the islands.
b. As this improves, we have better lines of communication, which will enable us to provide more detailed updates on the many pieces of work happening on the ground.

In Grand Bahama, operations are being coordinated centrally out of Freeport.

c. NGOs and government partners are working out of a central Emergency Operations Centre.
d. There is a warehouse operating at Freeport Ship Services.
e. There are also over 70 food distribution points across the island receiving food daily.
f. More than 25,000 meals are being provided each day from our partners at Royal Caribbean Cruise line, World Central Kitchen and Barbeque for Relief.

Due to the catastrophic impact of the hurricane in Abaco, it is more challenging logistically to deliver humanitarian relief.

a. People in the government who would normally have led the work on the ground to recover from the hurricane have themselves been severely impacted.
b. We have established more reliable communications to the ground. As we are getting more information from the field, we expect more information to come in during the coming days.
c. There are two warehouses for supplies at the Marsh Harbour airport and the port.
d. Abaco is being provided food by multiple organisations including the World Food Programme and World Central Kitchen.
e. In Northern Abaco, World Central Kitchen is providing over 2,000 meals a day.
f. Fuel and water remain the biggest needs in Abaco.

  1. Donations: We are overwhelmed by the support that the international community has shown The Bahamas

a.The donations we are receiving are helping to save lives, and as we progress in our work, they will fund the reconstruction of Grand Bahama and the Abacos.
b. I would like to notify the public that we are also now able to accept payment by credit card if you would like to make a cash donation. This information is available on NEMA’s website and Facebook page.
c. We thank you so much for your support, and for giving us strength in our time of need.
d. For cheque donations, please make cheques payable to The Bahamas Disaster Relief Fund.

  1. Education: The government is committed to getting displaced students back into schools

a. Yesterday, the Ministry of Education began the vital process of registering the 10,000 students affected by Hurricane Dorian into new schools.
b. The Ministry is bussing students in shelters to the National Stadium to register them. To manage the large volume, registration time slots are being scheduled in advance.
c.If you are not in a shelter but need to register a student, please call the Ministry to schedule a time. This number is available on the NEMA and Ministry of Education Facebook pages.
d. The registration process should run until Mid-October.
e. We have UNICEF here with us today, who are partnering with the Ministry of Education to get our kids back into school as quickly as possible. You will hear a more detailed update on this from them.