Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham on Tuesday will lead a Government delegation to Matthew Town, Inagua to view the extent to which residents suffered damages resulting from the Category 4 Hurricane Ike.
His trip follows that of a Rapid Assessment Team of the National Emergency Management Agency, (NEMA) which was dispatched to Matthew Town, to evaluate damages caused by Hurricane Ike, which struck that southern island on Sunday, September 7, 2008.
Commander Stephen Russell, Director of NEMA Agency confirmed Monday, September 8, 2008 that the team left on a Bahamasair flight into the island to carry out initial assessment exercises.
He said he has given NEMA 10 days to deliver essential supplies, namely water and plastic covering to residents impacted by the storm, after which restoration and reconstruction would follow.
“Water is priority for most of the islands. Acklins and Crooked Island called about a shortage of water so as soon as we are able to get flights into those areas the first set of items would be taken in,” Commander Russell said.
He explained that residents whose homes were damaged, NEMA would look at long-term arrangement in hurricane shelters to accommodate them.
“One of my greatest experiences is working with the team at NEMA. I think we have been able to better coordinate our activities to track and monitor the storm,” Commander Russell said. “We were able to call the islands in advance, let them know exactly when the storm would be approaching their area or at its closest point.”
He said he was also pleased with NEMA’s communications network; at all times the National Emergency Operations Centre was able to stay in contact with Family Island administrators.
“I give my self 10 days; we are going full bliss in terms of our relief phase. We are trying to get as much as our supplies into the islands,” Commander Russell said.
The Rapid Assessment Team includes representatives from Social Services, the Ministry of Health, the Bahamas Red Cross, Bahamas Telecommunications Company, the Ministry of Tourism, the Water and Sewerage Corporation, Department of Civil Aviation, Bahamas Electricity Corporation, the Ministry of Works and Bahamas Information Services.