Tue | Aug 11, 2020

Hurricane Dorian | Jamaica ready to assist with recovery efforts, says Gov’t

Published:Wednesday | September 4, 2019 | 12:11 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Volunteers rescue a family from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian, near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, yesterday.
Volunteers rescue a family from the rising waters of Hurricane Dorian, near the Causarina bridge in Freeport, Grand Bahama, Bahamas, yesterday.

The Jamaican Government yesterday expressed sympathy and pledged support to the people of The Bahamas following the passage of the fierce Hurricane Dorian, which pummelled the island on Monday and Sunday.

Dorian, which slammed into the islands as a Category Five hurricane late Sunday, bearing down its enormous force, moving at an excruciatingly slow pace with torrential downpours and destructive gusts wreaking havoc for several hours. It moved away yesterday a much weaker system.

While the damage inflicted is expected to be significant, the full scope of the damage remains unknown, with phone, Internet and power lines down on many islands.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who has been in contact with Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, said Jamaica will be able to offer support once an initial assessment has been conducted.

In a press release yesterday, Holness said that the Disaster Assistance Response Team (DART) has been placed on standby to assist the hurricane-ravaged archipelago, which is home to thousands of Jamaicans.

The team consists of members of the Jamaica Defence Force, the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, and other response agencies.

“[They] will help to address issues of need in search, rescue, assessment and restoration of infrastructure damage, offer relief supplies, and assist in rebuilding efforts,” the release said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith said she is mindful that Jamaicans have relatives and friends in The Bahamas, and urged locals not to panic but to seek information from the bulletins being issued by the Bahamian government.

“In addition to the support which Jamaica will provide to the government of The Bahamas, our Jamaican consuls general in New York and Miami are already working to mobilise assistance and emergency supplies to assist families who have been affected,” Johnson Smith said.

She is asking Jamaicans who have reliable sources of information to share them with the ministry as they continue to monitor the situation.

Several flights between Jamaica and The Bahamas and Florida, where Dorian is headed, were cancelled yesterday.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com