Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says there has been no report of deaths of Jamaicans, as a result of Category Five Hurricane Dorian’s impact on The Bahamas.
He informed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade has been updated on the situation with Jamaicans in the most impacted areas in The Bahamas.
“The latest information is that 31 Jamaicans have requested evacuation from the Great Abaco Islands. Of that number, we can confirm that 21 have now been evacuated and are being housed by the Honorary Consul,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Holness was delivering a Statement to the House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 10.
He said Jamaica is assisting in the relief and reconstruction efforts, noting that assessments done, to date, indicate predominantly humanitarian needs, including safe drinking water, shelter and support for measures to restore power and access.
Mr. Holness noted that the Red Cross is providing the support services to deal with those who have experienced trauma.
Jamaica, as a member of CARICOM, has responsibility as the regional focal point for the North Western Caribbean, including Haiti, Belize, The Bahamas, and the Turks and Caicos Islands.
“In addition to the efforts of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency, Jamaica has offered practical help for The Bahamas. A number of key agencies are a part of the response,” Mr. Holness said.
These key agencies are the Jamaica Defence Force, Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Jamaica Red Cross, Ministry of Tourism, Jamaica Fire Brigade, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Petrojam, National Water Commission, Jamaica Constabulary Force, National Spatial Data Management Division, and the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.
“The agencies report that there has been significant damage to infrastructure, housing, and the coastal areas of the northern islands, and damage to fuel storage. The emergency response, so far, has included rescue and recovery operations, and these continue,” Mr. Holness said.
A contingent of 120 JDF soldiers – Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) – departed the island on September 7 to provide recovery and humanitarian support to The Bahamas.
They were accompanied by 11 members of the Royal Canadian Air Force, which provided airlift support.
“The Disaster Assistance Response Team comprises soldiers with various skill sets who are configured to respond to natural disasters in the region,” Prime Minister Holness said.
He noted that DART will assist the Government of The Bahamas with the temporary accommodations (tents); assist with the establishment of relief distribution areas; assist with aid convoy protection; assist with clearing of distribution routes; conduct key point protection; assist the government of The Bahamas with security tasks as requested; and assist with the re-establishment of power supply.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Holness said the Government has established a donation account, through the National Commercial Bank, Oxford Road Branch, with the account number 212387304. The name of the account is ‘ODPEM Donation Account’.
“We continue to monitor and assess the situation and we will respond as required,” Mr. Holness said.
The official death toll in the areas affected by the Hurricane in The Bahamas has risen to at least 50.
Prime Minister Holness is to visit The Bahamas on Thursday.