Bahamas 'open for business' but hurricane warning remains

Bahamas 'open for business' but hurricane warning remains

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A hurricane warning remains in place for Bermuda as Hurricane Joaquin heads to the west of the Atlantic archipelago over night.

Tropical-storm force winds gusted at more than 60 mph early on Sunday evening in Bermuda bringing tropical downpours.

The hurricane will continue to impact the island with strong winds, high seas and heavy rain into early Monday local time, according to local weather reports.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office warned that Hurricane Joaquin was forecast to bring hazardous sea and weather conditions to Bermuda from Sunday.

Joaquin is then expected to continue to slowly weaken over the next 48 hours.

Meanwhile, the Bahamas declared itself “open for business’ as relief efforts were put in place to help islands battered by the hurricane.

Hurricane Joaquin mostly affected the islands of Exuma and the Cays, Long Island and San Salvador.

There were about 520 visitors staying throughout the Bahamas’ Family Islands when the hurricane hit.

Exuma had 197 visitors, Long Island had 10 and San Salvador two. Nassau and Paradise Island had more than 5,250 visitors and Grand Bahama had over 2,000.

During the storm, the Bahamas Ministry of Tourism ensured that all visitors were accounted for.

Director general, Joy Jibrilu, said: “We know that this has been devastating for several islands in the southern Bahamas and our thoughts, prayers and good wishes and everything with that goes out to the people of those affected islands.

“We know that some guests in Exuma are checking out and it is not as a result of the hurricane; it is because their vacations have come to an end.

“It is imperative that we send the message out to the world that The Bahamas is open for business. Those who are scheduled to leave later have not changed their flights. They have decided to enjoy The Bahamas another day.

“We’ve had flights from the Royal Bahamas Police Force and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, the Ministry of Works and other agencies to assess the damage to determine if it is safe to send flights in.

“Additionally, we have been inundated with calls offering assistance and I cannot thank the Bahamian people for that.

“It seems like we are not responding to those calls. But let me make it clear, the only reason why we have not responded to those calls is because we are awaiting feedback from these flights as to the state and readiness of airports so that we can in turn mobilise on how to get to these various islands.

“That remains utmost in our minds, getting the relief to the various Family Islands.”


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