Caribbean Community (CARICOM) governments were on Tuesday preparing to provide assistance to The Bahamas as a near stationary Hurricane Dorian is expected to begin moving away from the archipelago even while continuing to pound Grand Bahama Island.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said Bridgetown is prepared to urgently assist Nassau expressing her deep sadness at the “tremendous devastation and suffering on the Bahamian people that has been unleashed by Dorian.
She said Barbados is ready to despatch personnel and equipment from the Barbados Defence Force and the Barbados Coast Guard as soon as it received the information required by the Bahamas government.
“We were fortunate enough to have been spared the wrath of Dorian, but we are no less touched by what has occurred in The Bahamas than if it had taken place right here in Barbados,” Mottley said.
“It is now clear that increasingly, all nations in this region are becoming more susceptible to the ravages of hurricanes and other adverse weather conditions, and while we are not the ones creating the conditions for global warming that fuels them, we certainly have no choice but to stand together to help each other when they come our way.
“The people of the Bahamas can rest assured that they are in our prayers, and that our resources, limited though they may be, will be deployed to help them through this most difficult time,” she added.
She thanked the Barbados Light & Power Company that was already mobilizing to send crews and equipment to The Bahamas to assist with the restoration of power, and other members of the local private sector who had reached out to pledge their support. She urged other members of the private sector and civil society to join the effort.
“In these small and vulnerable islands we occupy, we should never forget that old West Indian saying: ‘Today for you, tomorrow for me’, or better still, ‘There but for the grace of God go I,” Mottley said.
Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell, who like his other colleagues has been in touch with Prime MInister Dr. Hubert Minnis, said “our hearts and prayers are with the government and people of the Bahamas as they deal with the devastating impact of Hurricane Dorian, which even now, continues to batter parts of the territory.
“Having walked this road many years ago, we can truly say we understand and we empathise. We hold true to the saying you are your brother’s keeper; therefore rest assured that Grenada stands ready and willing to assist in any way possible,” he added.
Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley said Port of Spain has been in contact with the rest of CARICOM on the situation.
Rowley said he remains concerned for the Bahamas and has indicated the government’s willingness of his assist where necessary. He said as has happened in the past, Trinidad and Tobago will “demonstrate its compassion and willingness to help its CARICOM neighbour.
“The Prime Minister is awaiting the passage of Dorian to find out what kind of support Trinidad and Tobago will provide to help the Bahamas cope. He said he is hoping for the best and his thoughts are with the affected families and people of Bahamas at this time,” according to an official statement.
Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who is also the chairman of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) said that the situation in the Bahamas must remind the region of the need for building more resilient homes.
“The big issue is that we have to contend with this storms year after year, becoming more frequent, more ferocious and we therefore have to pay great attention to building more resilient homes,” said Browne, adding that the sub-region is still awaiting word on what is required for the rebuilding purposes.
St. Kitts-Nevis Prime Minister .Dr. Timothy Harris said he had spoken to Minnis and “I assured him that we are praying for the people of the Bahamas and encouraged him to be strong.
“The government and people of St. Kitts and Nevis have the people of the Bahamas firmly in our thoughts and prayers during their time of greatest need, and we stand in solidarity with them as they try to cope with loss of life and property in the aftermath,” Harris said, adding “we send our love to the people of the Bahamas, as well as the assurance that we will do whatever we can to support them and help them rebuild and recover.”
Meanwhile, the Miami-based National Hurricane Centre (NHC) said that Dorian, which has been blamed for at least five deaths, was “still nearly stationary, but is expected to begin moving north-northwestward later on Tuesday morning” as it continues to pound the Grand Bahama.
The storm is located 35 miles north east of Freeport and had maximum sustained winds of 120 miles per hour (mph)
NHC said that “a slow north-northwestward motion is expected to begin this morning.
“A turn to the north is forecast by Wednesday evening, followed by a turn to the north-northeast Thursday morning. On this track, the core of extremely dangerous Hurricane Dorian will continue to pound Grand Bahama Island today.
“The hurricane will then move dangerously close to the Florida east coast late today through Wednesday evening, very near the Georgia and South Carolina coasts Wednesday night and Thursday, and near or over the North Carolina coast late Thursday.”
It said that Dorian is a category 3 hurricane and is expected to remain a powerful hurricane during the next couple of days.
The NHC warned that a life-threatening storm surge will raise water levels by as much as 10 to 15 feet above normal tide levels in areas of onshore winds on Grand Bahama Island.
“Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves. Water levels
should very slowly subside on the Abaco Islands today. The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” the NHC added.