Most of the airports throughout the Islands of The Bahamas have been re-opened after Hurricane Matthew exited the country early Friday morning. The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) gave the all clear for the entire Commonwealth of The Bahamas shortly before 9 a.m. on Friday.
The Department of Civil Aviation has re-opened the following airports effective October 7th 2016: Exuma; Andros Town; San Andros; New Bight, Cat Island; Arthur’s Town, Cat Island; San Salvador; Mayaguana; Inagua; Acklins; Rock Sound, Eleuthera; Governor’s Harbour, Eleuthera; North Eleuthera; Treasure Cay, Abaco, Marsh Harbour, Abaco; Crooked Island; Stellar Maris, Long Island, and Deadman’s Cay, Long Island.
The Nassau Airport Development Company has advised that the Lynden Pindling International Airport will resume normal operations today, Saturday, October 8.
Initial reports indicate that there is minimal damage on some islands hit by the storm. However, reports out of Grand Bahama Island and North Abaco indicate significant damage on some parts of those islands.
The Port of Nassau opened today, Saturday, October 8 at 6 a.m. and officials are currently conducting assessments and cleanup exercises. Four cruise ships will call on Nassau on Saturday.
Restoration of electricity supply to residents on New Providence and Grand Bahama is underway according to Bahamas Power and Light and the Grand Bahama Power Company respectively.
As of Friday, October 7, there are 3,000 visitors on New Providence, 228 throughout the Family Islands and 74 on Grand Bahama Island. The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism expects those numbers to change as the airports open.
The government has already begun its assessment exercise. “We are cognizant that we are a blessed nation because we took quite a lashing from such a powerful category four hurricane and received no loss of life or widespread destruction. We would like to extend our heartfelt thoughts and prayers for all the residents of The Bahamas who have been affected by the storm,” said Joy Jibrilu, Director General of Tourism for The Islands Of The Bahamas.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the citizens of Haiti where at last report there was significant loss of life. We will stand shoulder to shoulder with our Caribbean family in recovery exercises. We are also keeping the U.S. state of Florida in our hearts as Hurricane Matthew moves through.”
The Bahamas Ministry of Tourism’s (BMOT) crisis management team continues to liaise with NEMA Bahamas, The Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association (BHTA), Nassau Airport Development Company, the Port Authority and other relevant authorities. It is also keeping track of all visitor counts by island and receiving frequent updates.
BMOT has issued a notice to industry partners advising them to allow NEMA Bahamas, the appropriate government agency, to conduct the initial damage and needs assessment in all the affected areas so that offers of assistance are appropriate.
The Ministry of Tourism has been in constant contact with its representatives throughout the Family Islands during the storm.
Hilton at Resorts World Bimini has reported no major property damage. There was some damage to landscaping and to the glass pavilion banquet space. The resort is expected to open on Saturday and fully operational at normal room capacity on Friday, October 14.
- On Long Island, there are reports of minor damage on the island with some downed power lines and trees.
- There were no reports of major property damage to any of the resorts on the island including Cape Santa Maria, Stella Maris or any of the smaller resorts.
- Greenwich Creek Lodge will be open on Saturday with all utilities in place.
There were also reports of minor damage on San Salvador. There were no reports of debris or downed power lines or trees on the roads and the hurricane shelters have already been cleared. Additionally, Club Med reported no building damage.
- Tiamo Resort in South Andros also reported no building damage. They plan to be open on their target date of November 1.
- Central Andros reported that Small Hope Bay does have some damage. The property is closed as it normally is during this time. It plans to open as scheduled on October 19, fully operational and offering diving, fishing and nature touring.
- The Lighthouse Yacht Club is severely damaged and the roof is 80 percent damaged.
- On Eleuthera, there was minimal damage.
- Villa Allamanda looks fine from an outside inspection.
- French Leave is closed for renovations, but no major damage was reported.
On Great Exuma, there were reports of minimal damage throughout the island. The roads are passable with some flooding in Rolletown. Many of the resorts of the island reported very minor damage.
- February Point has no property damage.
- Exuma Beach Resort has some shingle damage.
- Club Peace and Plenty has some damage to its windows and dock. Grand Isle Resort reported no property damage.
- Augusta Bay has no damage.
- Hideaways at Palm Bay has some minor shingle and fence damage.
- The airport received no major damage either.
The Ministry of Tourism office on Abaco will continue to monitor the group but at last report they were comfortable. For now, it appears that the resorts in Marsh Harbour suffered no major damage.
- On New Providence, Stuart’s Cove reported that all staff are safe and their boats made it through.The dive shop and dock at South Ocean all received some damage, but nothing that prevented the company from reopening on Saturday for business as usual.
- RIU Palace on Paradise Island appears to have suffered damage to its property.
- There were reports of mainly landscape damage to many of the hotels on New Providence including Graycliff, Melia Nassau Beach Resort and Warwick Paradise Island hotel.
The Bahamas Red Cross is seeking donations for its efforts, to prepare and respond quickly to those most affected by Hurricane Matthew. Items needed include: rice, flour, oatmeal, sugar, tuna, canned spaghetti, sardines, fruit cup, peanut butter, jam, corn beef and evaporated milk.
The Bahamas Red Cross is also seeking donations of furniture and bedding. Monetary donations can be deposited at: Royal Bank, A/C-289-423-6. For more information please contact BRC at 242-323-7370 or http://www.bahamasredcross.com/