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Breaking News:

Bimini resident recounts Irma’s wrath

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

Published: Sep 13, 2017

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Indera Russell was uncertain whether her home in Bailey Town, Bimini, would withstand a tornado that touched down in the northern settlement on Monday afternoon, an aftershock of Hurricane Irma which whipped the island on Sunday, as it barreled toward Florida.

As the large and dangerous storm peeled off shingles, which acted as shrapnel, launching into parked cars and homes, Russell said she heard her daughters scream for her to get to the side of the house where they were.

“It was really terrifying,” she said.

“It was the first experience I have had with a tornado.

“I don’t think it lasted more than 15 seconds in my judgement, at least the worst part.

“But for those 15 seconds I felt that strong impact with the house shaking and everything.

“There were several cars parked in my yard.

“One of the cars lost the back windshield and the front windshield from flying debris.”

Russell rode out Irma with her husband, two daughters, son-in-law and niece.

She recounted the damage caused by Hurricane Andrew in 1992, and said Irma was more severe.

“There was a lot of wind, gusting at about 70 miles per hour, in my opinion,” she said.

“There was heavy rain and sea surges. We are just thanking God for life right now.

“... Persons within my area, like in a half-an-hour [driving] radius where the main action was, persons lost their houses like in the middle of the whole thing.

“Most persons had roof damage.

“Several persons lost the [entire] roof.”

Upon inspecting her home after the all-clear, Russell said there were three holes where debris penetrated the structure.

She said her family was shaken, but thankful to be safe.

Residents began preparing for the storm as forecasters warned of its danger last Monday.

Irma intensified to a Category 5 storm in Bahamian waters as it swept over the southern islands, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake.

Ragged Island has been deemed uninhabitable by officials.

Residents who rode out the storm in Duncan Town have shared harrowing stories.

Though there was no loss of life on any of the impacted islands in The Bahamas, the combined death toll from Irma in the Caribbean and United States stood at 47 yesterday.

Russell said this is reason alone to be thankful.

Meanwhile, she said residents have come together and begun the process of cleaning up.

She said rebuilding is at the forefront of their minds.

“Since yesterday (Monday), my council, which I am a part of, the deputy chief councillor from local government were [among] four teams dispatched yesterday by the administrator,” Russell said.

“BTC, [BPL] and the police; Superintendent Wendall Smith was in charge of the campaign of assessing the damage on the island, and shortly after that persons were out doing most of the cleanup.”

Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, members of his Cabinet, members of the opposition and officials from the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the media, visited Ragged Island, Acklins and Crooked Island yesterday.

Minnis and a contingent of government officials are expected to travel to Inagua today.

 

 

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