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Breaking News:

Bimini residents evacuated

ROYSTON JONES JR.
Guardian Senior Reporter
royston@nasguard.com

Published: Sep 08, 2017

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Many Bimini residents were evacuated yesterday as projections for Hurricane Irma put the island in its path by Friday night to early Saturday.

The dangerous Category 5 storm is expected to begin impacting New Providence this afternoon.

The southern islands, which began experiencing adverse weather yesterday, were forecast to take a direct hit.

Bimini Island Administrator Kate Williamson said officials have called in the assistance of Flamingo Air and Pineapple Air to provide airlift.

The complement includes three nine-seater aircraft and three 15-seater aircraft, providing a total of 72 seats.

Bimini has a population of approximately 3,000 people.

With no airport in North Bimini, residents there were being ferried to the south.

Williamson said that process began yesterday morning.

“We began ferrying persons over via government ferry and a private vessel, which is a 50-seater, to get them to the airport,” she said.

“We have our priority list.

“We are trying to get the elderly out first, and children, pregnant women and women.

“Of course, airports are closed tomorrow evening, so we are trying to do as much as we can today.”

According to Williamson, the process has been going well.

She said officials were proactive and began preparing for potential evacuations on Wednesday.

That day, the vast majority of residents on Inagua and Mayaguana were transported to New Providence after the government warned residents to evacuate or risk their lives.

“So far, the transition has been smooth,” Williamson said.

“We have police on the south side who are assisting with the coordination, as well our airport manager on the other end, and other government officials.”

The administrator was unable to provide specific figures on evacuations yesterday afternoon.

She assured local officials will assist and encourage as many residents as possible to leave Bimini.

“We are working on that right now,” Williamson said.

“I am working with NEMA (National Emergency Management Agency).

“They are giving me directives as to what aircraft is coming in.

“We are very busy trying to get the numbers sorted out.”

 


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