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Bahamas Prime Minister to Call for National Day of Mourning for Hurricane Dorian Victims

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Upon his arrival at the Emergency Operation Center, which is tasked with the job of coordinating hurricane relief efforts on Grand Bahama, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis took time to speak with some of the volunteers at the EOC. Left of the Prime Minister is Minister of State for Grand Bahama, Senator Kwasi Thompson. (Photo credit: BIS/Yontalay Bowe)

NASSAU, The Bahamas, Tuesday September 10, 2019 – Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis says a national day of mourning must be held to properly mourn those who died as a result of Hurricane Dorian.

The count is now at least 50.

His announcement came during a visit to Grand Bahama, where he held a press briefing and was updated by all of the relevant agencies on Grand Bahama as they continued the relief effort on the island, which was severely impacted by Category 5 Hurricane Dorian as it passed through Abaco and Grand Bahama on September 1.

“I will be making a national address, during which time I will ask for a National Day of mourning and for flags to be flown at half-mast in honor of those individuals who have died during this devastation,” said Prime Minister Minnis.

“I want to extend condolences to those individuals who have lost loved ones.”

The Prime Minister acknowledged nobody could have predicted exactly what kind of devastation Hurricane Dorian would have left behind once it passed over the islands: “But what I can say is that the entire international community is with us. “They have been assisting us from day one. They have made commitments that they will assist us in rebuilding our country.”

He noted that not only was the United States there to lend their support to The Bahamas, but the entire CARICOM community also reached out and offered assistance in the form of monetary assistance, man-power and advice.

Addressing the complaints by many about the decision to close the country’s air space (particularly over Grand Bahama and Abaco), Prime Minister Minnis said that in spite of the criticism, he holds firm to the decision, calling it the right one in the face of the circumstances.

“We wanted to limit the amount of aircraft flying over these islands to humanitarian aircraft only,” said Prime Minister Minnis. “There would have been a lot of negativity regarding that and a lot of people have complained. But we did that because we felt that there would have been too much people using the opportunity to fly over these islands just for sightseeing purposes.

“If that happened, it would first of all, hinder the work of those humanitarian aircraft coming in to assist and deliver aid.Secondly, because the towers at both Abaco and Grand Bahama are down, having so many aircraft fly over at the same time could have possibly result in midair collision, which would have been another disaster on our hands.”

Recalling a personal experience recently, Minnis said that during a trip to Abaco to view the devastation there, the airplane (which was carrying him, the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Prime Minister of Barbados, Chairman and Secretary General of CARICOM, the Bahamian Commissioner of Police and others) had to suddenly drop its altitude because another aircraft was on a collision course with their aircraft and the plane was not responding to the Bahamasair pilot.

“That’s the perfect example of why we had to make the decision to close the airspace to aircraft not involved in Humanitarian aid,” the Prime Minister said.

During the press briefing, the Prime Minister was given a rundown on the efforts being made by various agencies in the restoration process. He also heard from Island Administrators for all of the constituencies in Grand Bahama and how the storm affected their respective communities and the people within them.

“I want to thank you all for the excellent work that you’re doing, because without your support, confidence and ability in the aftermath of this terrible event, the death toll could have been much higher,” he said.

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Hurricane Humberto Getting Stronger as it Nears Bermuda

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HAMILTON, Bermuda, Wednesday September 18,
2019
– Hurricane force winds are expected
to reach Bermuda this evening, as a larger and stronger Humberto moves
closer to the island.

The impending hurricane, at Category 3
strength with maximum sustained winds now near 120 miles per hour, has forced
the closure of government offices and schools and cancellation of evening
flights at the airport.

In its 11 a.m. advisory, the National
Hurricane Centre (NHC) said Hurricane Humberto was located 195 miles west of
the island, and was moving towards the east northeast at 16 miles per hour.

It is expected to remain a major
hurricane through early tomorrow. And the core of Jerry is expected to pass
just to the northwest and north of the island tonight. The Bermuda Weather
Service has forecast that its closest point to the island will be 101 miles to
the northwest at 8 p.m.

“Some fluctuations in intensity are likely during
the next day or so, but Humberto should remain a powerful hurricane through
early Thursday while it passes close to Bermuda.  A steady weakening trend should begin later
on Thursday,” the NHC said.

Humberto is a large hurricane and continues to grow
in size. Hurricane-force winds now extend outward up to 105 miles from the centre
and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 195 miles based on reports
from a Hurricane Hunter aircraft.

The NHC said a prolonged period of dangerous winds
is expected on Bermuda from late this afternoon through tomorrow morning, with
hurricane-force winds expected overnight tonight.

It added that storm surge and dangerous breaking waves could cause coastal flooding tonight and tomorrow along the southern coast of Bermuda.

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Eastern Caribbean Embarks on Strategy Towards a Blue-Green Economy

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The Caribbean green-blue economy strategy and action plan will make the most of the sub- region’s strengths, harnessing these to create economies that are environmentally friendly and at the same time more socially equitable. (Photo Credit: Elizabeth Eames Roebling/IPS)

In this Voices from the Global South podcast, IPS takes you to the Caribbean where correspondent Jewel Fraser learns how micro, small and medium enterprises hold the key for building economies that are resilient to the impacts of climate change.

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Tropical Storm Jerry Forms East of the Leeward Islands

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FLORIDA, United States, Wednesday September
18, 2019
– Tropical
Storm Jerry formed this morning, becoming the 10th named storm of
the Atlantic hurricane season. And by the time it’s near the Leeward Islands in
the next day or two, it’s expected to have strengthened into a hurricane.

The National
Hurricane Centre (NHC) in Miami reported in its first advisory on Tropical
Storm Jerry at 5 a.m., that it was located about 960 miles east of the Leeward
Islands and moving towards the west northwest at 13 miles per hour.

Maximum
sustained winds were at 45 miles per hour, and additional strengthening is forecast
during the next couple of days. A west-northwestward motion at a slightly
faster forward speed is expected over the next few days. 

“On the
forecast track, the system will be near the northern Leeward Islands Thursday
night or Friday…. Jerry is expected to become a hurricane by the time it moves
near the northern Leeward Islands,” the NHC said.

It added
that although it is too soon to determine if there will be any direct impacts
on the islands, interests in the northern Leeward Islands should monitor the progress
of this system and have their hurricane plans in place.

Apart from Hurricane Humberto which is expected to pass just to the northwest and north of Bermuda tonight, there are two other areas of interest in the Atlantic.

A tropical
wave located several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands is producing
disorganized cloudiness and showers. Some development of that system is possible
over the weekend while the system approaches the Windward Islands or across the
southeastern Caribbean Sea early next week.

A tropical wave is also forecast to move off of the west coast of Africa tomorrow.  Development, if any, is expected to be slow to occur through early next week while the system moves generally westward at 10 to 15 miles per hour.

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