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The Salvation Army Reports on Hurricane Irene in the Bahamas

The Salvation Army The Bahamas

Report on Hurricane Irene

August 26, 2011

Hurricane Irene made its trek through The Turks and Caicos and The Bahamas Islands August 23 to 25, 2011, dithering between a category 2 and 3 storm.  As the huge storm roared across the archipelago, Irene left behind a trail of destruction in its wake.

Major Lester Ferguson, Divisional Commander, reports that all Salvation Army officer personnel and their families in The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands Division have weathered the storm well, and are all doing fine.

The storm entered the division by unleashing heavy rains and winds on the Turks and Caicos islands, causing much flooding, with various levels of damage to buildings and vegetation.

Army buildings in The Bahamas fared well, too, though several of them sustained minor to moderate damages, while one sustained significant roof damage.  At the Mackey Street complex there was minor roof and vegetation damage.  At Grants Town there was significant roof damage to a portion of the Complex resulting in some interior water damage. Minor damages were also reported at the Freeport Corps Complex.

Fortunately, the two major islands of Nassau (New Providence) and Grand Bahama were spared the full brunt of the storm.  The southeastern and central Family Islands of Cat Island, Rum Cay, Crooked Island, Acklins and Mayaguana were all extensively pummeled. The Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) has reported that damage on these islands are expected to be in the tens of millions of dollars, as hundreds of homes, churches, other buildings and infrastructure were either damaged or destroyed. Thankfully, no loss of life or serious injuries were reported.

All The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos islands were impacted in some way, some to a greater extent than others.  In the Turks and Caicos islands, widespread flooding remains a major issue.  Most of the damage in Nassau consists of fallen trees and damaged roofs.  NEMA reports that in the town of Lovely Bay, Acklins, 90 percent of the settlement is completely destroyed, and that Cat Island has been left without any form of communication as Irene’s strong winds of up to 127 mph brought down scores of power lines.  Communication on many of the islands remain challenged.

 Before the hurricane made landfall, The Bahamas Division emergency disaster team, comprised of DHQ officers and staff, met to put final checks on the Army’s hurricane preparedness and response readiness.

During the storm the Army’s hurricane shelters on Mackey Street and Grants Town sheltered were opened, and a total of 33 persons sought refuge in the shelter for two day.  Meals were provided for the persons in the shelters.

In the aftermath of the storm Mrs. Joanne Karam, a Corps member of the Turks and Caicos Islands Corps, was busy assisting the local hurricane shelter on Providenciales, as well as coordinating The Salvation Army’s relief efforts, which included distributing food and supplies to affected persons.

Envoy Vicki Poff, Director of Disaster Services at Territorial Headquarters in Kingston, Jamaica, has been working with Major Ferguson to coordinate initial funding and a shipment of supplies for the Turks and Caicos islands disaster relief efforts, as well as any other assistance that might be needed for the rest of the division.  The Envoy has already arranged for 2,500 pounds of water, tarpaulin, baby items and food to be flown to the Providenciales on August 27.

The Salvation Army in The Bahamas is an active member of NEMA, and the Army continues to work closely with NEMA before, during and in the aftermath of the hurricane Irene.   On August 26, Salvation Army personnel Marsha Kanady travelled via air charter with NEMA officials to three of the badly affected islands to help make assessments. On August 27 Salvation Army personnel Major Oral Morris will travel to two other severely impacted islands with NEMA to assess damages on those islands.  The results of those assessments will help The Salvation Army to determine the way forward as it continues to provide help and hope to those affected by Irene.  In the meantime, The Salvation Army is shipping supplies to Cat Island and Long Island on August 27, and the shipment will include 95 cases of water, 258 cases of foodstuff, 169 cases of cleaning kits and 200 boxes of linen.

Over the next several days, and as communication is resorted and more information becomes available, The Salvation Army corps community centers in The Turks and Caicos, Freeport, Eleuthera and Nassau, will continue to share God’s love by providing practical relief, spiritual support as well as make assessments with the view of helping as many affected persons and islands as possible.  As the picture becomes clearer in terms of the needs are, it is likely that there will be a great need for cleanup supplies, building material, bedding, clothing and water.

We thank God for  His sustaining grace during the passage of Hurricane Irene, and our thoughts and prayers are with our brothers and sisters along the eastern seaboard of the USA who may be affected by Irene as it makes it way along the eastern coast.

Lester T. Ferguson


Friday August 25, 2011


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