“The devastation is not just to people’s private property and homes, where we will have to render assistance, but the infrastructure has been severely damaged and that goes into the tens of millions of dollars when you add up the total and that is why assessment is important,” Prime Minister Perry Christie said.
By SANCHESKA BROWN / Tribune Staff Reporter / October 5, 2015
It will cost “tens of millions of dollars” to restore and rebuild the infrastructure on the southern and central Bahamas islands that were completely devastated by the passage of Hurricane Joaquin, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie.
At a press conference at the Exuma Airport on Saturday, after conducting an aerial assessment of the affected islands, Prime Minister Perry Christie told reporters that the category four hurricane severely damaged and in some cases completely destroyed power lines and telephone antennas in San Salvador, Crooked Island, Long Island and Acklins.
These areas have been without electricity and telephone service since Thursday.
Officials from the Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC) and the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation (BTC) said it could take up to ten days to restore power and communications on the affected islands.
The prime minister said the infrastructural repairs will be “extraordinary” in terms of cost for the central government.
“The devastation is not just to people’s private property and homes, where we will have to render assistance, but the infrastructure has been severely damaged and that goes into the tens of millions of dollars when you add up the total and that is why assessment is important,” Mr Christie said.
BTC CEO Leon Williams said his staff is working 24/7 to get the communication systems up, however because of power outages and widespread flooding it is difficult to begin the restoration process in Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island and San Salvador.
“We have had a number of towers lost in Long Island, three towers to be exact. We lost a tower in Crooked Island and our challenge right now is to get to Long Island, once we get Long Island up we can get the other islands up,” he said on Saturday. “We still have no communications with Crooked Island and as the prime minister indicated, we are pressed to get there. We lost a roof for the generators in Crooked Island and a roof for the building in Crooked Island and three antennas. We have got a temporary tower to carry into Long Island to restore the cellular network as soon as we get power. The difficulty in Long Island and some of the other islands is staff cannot get to the other settlements because of the water, so they can only tell you what is damaged within their settlements, that is the challenge we have in Long Island and in Crooked Island.”
The Bahamians welcome any assistance possible, especially consumable items.
The Bahamas Red Cross Society
John F. Kennedy Drive
P.O. Box N-8331
Tel: (1242) 323-7370/328-4415
Fax: (242) 323-7404
Telegram: BAHREDCROSS NASSAU
Website . . . http://bahamasredcross.com
National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA)
Office Location and Contact Information
Office Hours: Monday to Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Except on Public Holidays
Key Contact Persons
Name: Gayle Outten-Moncur
Position: Senior Assistant Secretary
Name: Eleanor Davis
Position: Administrative Cadet