NASSAU, Bahamas (CMC) – The Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM) in Jamaica has said it will send a Rapid Needs Assessment Team (RNAT) to the Bahamas on Monday, to coordinate relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Joaquin.
The RNAT will include personnel from the Ministry of Health, Jamaica Defence Force, National Environmental and Planning Agency, National Works Agency, and the ODPEM.
Initial assessments reveal the Bahamas needs basic food supplies and water in areas affected by the hurricane.
Jamaica, with the assistance of the British West Indian Guard Ship, has dispatched 50 tonnes of supplies.
The ODPEM is providing the assistance in keeping with its responsibilities under the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Agency (CDEMA).
Meanwhile, early Sunday, Prime Minister Perry Christie pledged that no resources would be spared in the aftermath of the storm in restoring the islands ravaged by the hurricane despite the infrastructural cost being “extraordinary” and running to millions of dollars.
Speaking in Exuma on Saturday, Christie outlined the plans to respond quickly to the devastating effects of the hurricane, stating that there appeared to be “major devastation” in the south of Long Island.
He said the challenge for the government was to move immediately to help the affected islands.
“We have to touch all of these islands at the same time, contemporaneously,” he said.
Concerning the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the prime minister said the agency needs to be supplemented because of the extent of the devastation and the need to concentrate resources, including enlisting help from “allies and friends”.
He added that the British Navy is on its way to the affected area and would either go to Acklins and Crooked Island or to Long Island to help assess the damage.
Support teams from the United States would also be involved in the damage assessments.
The prime minister also dismissed rumours of 30 deaths from the storm, stating that they are “absolutely not true”.
He said he had been told by the police commissioner that one elderly man was confirmed dead but it was not connected to the hurricane.
“We have to anticipate that with a calamitous happening to this country that there could be loss of life,” he said.
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