September 13, 2017
The early evacuation of the majority of residents of Ragged Island ahead of the powerful and destructive Hurricane Irma helped to save “a generation of Ragged Islanders,” Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Hubert A. Minnis said Wednesday.
In all, the Government of The Bahamas was able to evacuate more than 1500 residents of The Bahamas -- from MICAL (Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay) and Ragged Island (1200 persons) --and Bimini (365 persons) ahead of the storm.
Delivering his Communication on Hurricane Irma to the House of Assembly Wednesday (September 13, 2017), Prime Minister Minnis said there is “little to no doubt” that the evacuation of Ragged Island saved lives.
Prime Minister Minnis said the evacuation of residents from Ragged Island also minimized the potential for severe trauma for those evacuated, especially young children.
“Had the evacuation not occurred, we could have lost a generation of Ragged Islanders,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “That we have been spared the loss of life of Bahamian brothers and sisters, especially those from Ragged Island, is most fortunate and is the result of taking emergency action to evacuate the residents of our most south-eastern island. I thank the residents of MICAL (Mayaguana, Inagua, Crooked Island, Acklins and Long Cay), Ragged Island and Bimini for agreeing to evacuate on short notice.”
Hurricane Irma entered The Bahamas as a Category 5 storm on Thursday, September 7, 2017, with sustained winds of 175 miles per hour. The centre of Irma passed over Little Inagua at about 1:00 a.m. Friday (September 8) and continued moving west, northwest, passing about 30 miles south of Salina Point, Acklins, at about 6:00 a.m. Friday as a Category 5 Hurricane.
Hurricane Irma weakened slightly to a Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 150 miles per hour before its centre passed over Ragged Island at about mid-day Friday (September 8).
Irma continued moving westwards towards and along the northern coast of Cuba before turning northward and crossing the lower Florida Cays on Sunday morning (September 10) before making landfall on the southwest coast of Florida later that day.
Prime Minister Minnis said Hurricane Force winds were experienced in the islands of Inagua, Mayaguana, Acklins and Crooked Island on Thursday night (September 7) and early Friday morning (September 8); in south Long Island on Friday morning (September 8) and in Ragged Island Friday morning and afternoon during Hurricane Irma’s passage through The Bahamas.
Tropical storm winds were experienced in north Long Island; Long Cay; Exuma and its Cays; Rum Cay; San Salvador; Cat Island; Andros; New Providence; Bimini and Grand Bahama.
There were reports of tornado activity embedded in thunderstorms associated with some outer bands of Irma in Bimini and Grand Bahama on Sunday (September 10, 2017).
“The effect of Hurricane Irma on more densely populated areas from the northern Caribbean to Florida has been horrific,” Prime Minister Minnis said. “It is the same kind of catastrophic damage that has occurred on Ragged Island, which is now uninhabitable,” Prime Minister Minnis added.
By Matt Maura
Bahamas Information Services