Nassau, Bahamas – This Briefing will serve as an update on the integrated efforts of agencies of the Government and by those private and public sector entities charged with direct responsibilities for vital infrastructure in the islands affected by the hurricane. All areas of the emergency response are equally critical but I would like to begin by updating the country on the restoration of vital communication, electrical and water and sanitation and transportation infrastructure in the areas of concern.
Please note that this information is current as of Tuesday, 13th October, 2015 and focuses solely on what the Government of The Bahamas has done in response to the devastation caused by Hurricane Joaquin.
One week ago after the passage of Hurricane Joaquin, BTC discovered 59 Cell Sites off line negatively impacting 59 Communities in the Central and Southern Bahamas.
Today, one week later, BTC can report that 38% of those Cell Sites have been restored.
The following is the status of those sites:
· On Cat Island, the following Cell Sites have been restored in Arthur’s Town, The Bight, The Bluff, Smith’s Bay, Moss Town, Hawk’s Nest, Port Howe and Half Moon.
· On Exuma, the following Cell Sites have been restored in Forbes’s Hill, Ferry Bridge, Rolle Town George Town, Hooper’s Bay, Tar Bay, Moss Town, Ramsey, Farmer’s Hill, Steventon, Rolleville, Barraterre, Little Farmer’s Cay, Staniel Cay, Highbourne’s Cay, Black Point, William’s Town, Bay View and George Town Airport.
· On Inagua, the following cell sites have been restored in Matthew Town.
· On Mayaguana, the cell sites have been restored in Abraham’s Bay and Betsy Bay
· On Crooked Island, the following cell sites have been restored in Cabbage Hill and Cripple Hill. Cell sites still inoperative are in Major’s Cay, Pitt’s Town, Long Cay and Cripple Hill.
· On Long Island, the following cell sites have been restored in Deadman’s Cay, Stella Maris, Simms, Seymour’s and Clarence Town. Cell sites sill inoperative are in Hamilton, Salt Pond, and Gordon’s-Mortimer, Roses, and Greys.
· On Ragged Island, the cell site in Duncan Town has not yet been restored.
· On Rum Cay, the cell site in Port Nelson has not yet been restored. Technicians are working feverishly to resolve this problem. However, there is fixed line services at the BTC office there.
· On Acklins, the following cell sites have not been restored: Spring Point, Lovely Bay, Salina Point, Mason Bay, Pompey Bay and Pines Field.
· On San Salvador, the cell site has been restored in Cockburn Town. Services not yet restored in Polaris, Sandy Point and Dixon Hill.
Work is continuing, as we speak, on a full recovery.
WATER AND SEWERAGE CORPORATION
· Water & Sewerage Corporation deployed Assessment and Disaster Recovery Teams to San Salvador, Long Island, Crooked Island & Long Cay and Acklins on Sunday, October 4, 2015 immediately following the passage of Hurricane Joaquin and the issuance of the “all clear” from the Met Office.
· San Salvador
Normal operations at its Cockburn Town Desalination Plant resumed on Friday, October 9th, using a large standby generator shipped to the island from New Providence earlier in the week. On Sunday October 11th, the BEC power supply was restored. From Monday to Friday, while waiting for the restoration of the supply, the community was supplied via the Well field System, albeit with lower than normal system pressures.
· Long Island
WSC’s Simms Desalination Plant and water supply to the community was reactivated since Saturday, October 3rdafter the restoration of BEC’s power supply. The Deadman’s Cay Desalination Plant which supplies all of Central Long Island was reactivated on Monday October 5th using the onsite standby generator. The plant remains on; however a few (less than 10%) parts of the distribution system remain off due to leaks caused during the passage of the hurricane. The Corporation had plans to resume tankered water supply starting on Monday October 12th, however our delivery area will be subject to road conditions.
· Crooked Island and Long Cay
The Corporation was able to reactivate the Colonel Hill Well field Water Supply System, on a limited basis, using a standby generator for power supply on Thursday, October 8th.
· BEC restored power supply to the Long Cay Desalination Plant on Saturday October 10thand water supply to the community was restored shortly thereafter. The Corporation is actively pursuing options to rapidly install desalination plants at Colonel Hill and at Landrail Point and to also deploy a water tanker truck to assist in meeting the potable water demands of that community.
The Snug Corner/Mason’s Bay Desalination Plant was reactivated on Monday, October 5thfollowing the restoration of BEC’s power supply. The
Hard Hill Tank System is being supplied from Snug Corner/Mason’s Bay.
The Salina Point Desalination Plant is intact but there is no power supply.WSC is working closely with BEC for the early restoration of the power supply. Residents are being supplied via gravity feed from the limited water supply in the storage tank.
BEC power supply to the Chester’s/Lovely Bay Well field was restored on Wednesday, October 7th and water supply to Chester’s was restored soon thereafter. It is reported that approximately 1 mile of water pipeline to Lovely Bay was substantially damaged when the causeway was washed away. WSC is actively reviewing options as to how best to supply Lovely Bay in the interim while a determination is made with respect to the reconstruction of the causeway.
It is reported that BEC’s power supply to the Pirates Well/Betsy Bay Well field Water Supply System is on and supplying water to the residents. It is also reported that there is no damage to the new Desalination Plants on the island which are being readied for commissioning in the coming weeks in Abraham’s Bay and Pirates Well/Betsy Bay.
The Corporation will take emergency steps to ensure that potable water is made easily available at all of its facilities in the affected islands for all persons in need of water to meet their personal and family requirements.
Bahamas Electricity Corporation (Status Report as of 13/10/2015
The Bahamas Electricity Corporation is moving closer to full restoration in the Central and Southern Bahamas following Hurricane Joaquin. BEC teams have made significant progress since Hurricane Joaquin impacted the country:
Ragged Island- There was damage to BEC’s high voltage line on the island. Repairs were completed and supply restored on Saturday, October 3rd, 2015.
Exuma – Repairs were substantially completed on Saturday October 3thrd, 2015 with only minor pole and overhead line damage in Rolle Town and Steventon. This work was completed on Sunday October 4th.
Mayaguana- There was overhead line damage reported after the storm. BEC teams were able to restore supply on Sunday October 4th, 2015.
Cat Island – Supply was quickly restored on Saturday October 3rd to the majority of the island. There was minor damage to a pole and transformer at the southern end of the island. Those repairs were complete and supply fully restored on Sunday October 4th, 2015.
Rum Cay – Initially there was no access to the dock in Rum Cay. Now that a temporary ramp has been built, materials and equipment will be sent as urgently as possible.
Inagua- Supply was restored to the majority of customers on Saturday October 3rd with only minor repair work left to be done. Supply was fully restored on Monday October 5, 2015.
Long Cay – Damage was limited to mostly down overhead lines on the island. BEC began restoring supply to affected customers on Friday, October 9th and work was completed a day later.
Acklins – BEC’s distribution network suffered significant damage on the island; however, repairs were completed on Saturday October 10th, 2015 and power restored.
San Salvador – Supply was restored to Club Med on Friday, October 9th. Riding Rock, government offices, and Cockburn Town had their supplies restored as of Saturday October 10th, 2015.
Long Island – Electricity supply has resumed to homes and businesses as far south as The Bight. In the meantime, pole planting and overhead line repairs continue between The Bight and Deadman’s Cay. It has been projected that sections of Deadman’s Cay energized today.
FAMILY ISLAND AIRPORTS
· The Department of Civil Aviation has confirmed that all airports in the islands affected by Hurricane Joaquin are opened for normal operations (although some terminal buildings suffered damages), the last to be re-opened was Deadman’s Cay Airport which was opened for service last Friday,9th October, 2015
MINISTRY OF WORKS
(Major Infrastructure Damages)
· The Ministry of Works has completed its initial survey of damages to Government infrastructure, including roads, causeways and bridges and other government installations, including schools, clinics, official residences, etc. and this report is in hand and being analysed and reviewed for further action.
GOVERNMENT IMMEDIATE RELIEF SERVICES:
Department of Public Health
Health Relief Assessment Teams were deployed to Acklins, Crooked Island, Long Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.
o Sunday, October 4, 2015 – 7 nurses. 5 doctors
o Monday, October 5, 2015 – 1 doctor. 1 nurse
o Wednesday, October 7, 2015 – 2 doctors
o Thursday, October 8, 2015 – 2 doctors
o Saturday, October 10, 2015 – 6 nurses
o Sunday, October 11, 2015 – 9 nurses. 3 doctors
Medical supplies which include vaccines and equipment are continuously being distributed to the affected islands as of October 5. Nursing staff rotation are conducted on a weekly basis and doctors rotating every three to four days. This is done in order for the medical teams to have some down time before redeployment.
Department of Environmental Health Services
The Department has deployed several teams throughout the impacted islands to carry out a number of sanitation exercises for the control of water borne diseases and other related issues that might arise due to standing water residents might come in contact with.
The teams will rotate every two (2) weeks in the initial stages. Teams are comprised of Vector Control officers and Health Inspectors. Teams have already begun addressing vector issues through treatment of standing water, and fogging. Additional equipment and insecticides have been sent to all impacted islands. In collaboration with the Water & Sewerage Corporation, the Department of Environmental Health Services is also addressing disinfection of private water storage and catchment facilities. Advice is also being given to the community on the treatment methods for contaminated waters to be used for bathing.
Teams are also advising Local Government officials and the community with respect to management of debris and dead animals. Wherever possible, wood and vegetative debris are being separated with the intention of further processing.
DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES – INITIAL DEPLOYMENT OF SOCIAL WORKERS
Four Teams consisting of fourteen (14) Social Workers were deployed to conduct rapid initial damage assessments and assist with distribution of food and water to the severely affected islands of the Bahamas on Sunday 4th, October 2015 as follows:
The team was able to conduct assessments on 29 homes. They were unable to process any of the winter residents whose homes may have been affected. They are compiling data on the number of residents by gender, however, there were 10 school age children. The team returned to New Providence on Thursday 8th October 2015.
The team assessed 216 homes and counted 62 unoccupied homes. There are 227 students on the island however, 5 have relocated to New Providence. The team returned to New Providence on Saturday 10th, October 2015
The team processed 25 homes. There are 7 homes remaining in Long Cay which had 24 persons. There are 16 persons who remain in the Clinic as their homes are inhabitable. Long term accommodations need to be identified for them and the other residents whose homes were destroyed or severely damaged. The team returned to New Providence on Thursday 8th October 2015.
The team completed 107 assessments; this does not include the persons whose homes were destroyed. They are in the process of compiling their data. The team returned to New Providence on Friday, 9th, October 2015.
The team for Long Island was deployed on Monday 5th, October 2015. The team reported that the island was severely impacted which resulted in many homes being destroyed. It was difficult for the Social Workers to obtain an accurate count of all the families and homes that were affected by Hurricane Joaquin. However the Team is processing and compiling information on the number of men, women and children affected. The team returned to New Providence on Thursday, 8th, October 2015.
PROVISION OF MOBILE SHELTERS
I would also wish to announce that later today 17 trailers which are fully equipped for living accommodation will arrive in Crooked Island and will serve as a temporary operational base for members of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) who have deployed to that island in furtherance of the recovery and restoration efforts. This “Mobile City” will accommodate the marines who will provide relief to the distressed communities, including the provision of food and water and other basic services. Members of the team will provide security for the material and other goods that will be sent to the island and will assist in the coordination and distribution of these goods and services to the distressed community. In short, it will be a military command post under the direction of a senior command officer.
In ending this Brief just let me say that this is a snapshot of the global and overarching efforts of the Government of The Bahamas and its agencies and the point is that there is a coordinated and concerted effort being deployed to bring relief to persons and situations all across the affected areas.