Bahamas, September 12, 2017 – Nassau – Prime Minister Hon Dr. Hubert Minnis yesterday urged the 18 remaining residents on Ragged Island to evacuate in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. The damage caused by the storm has destroyed most structures and rendered the island unlivable.
“They cannot stay here,” Dr Minnis said after he saw for the first time the damage done by Irma to Ragged Island.
“Every home has been destroyed. The health facility has been destroyed. The school has been destroyed. The teachers’ residence has been destroyed. There is no light. There is no water. As we walk about, you can smell the stench of dead carcasses, dead animals. The health conditions of the individuals will deteriorate and it’s essential that we get them off this island,” Dr Minnis said.
Many were understandably reluctant to leave the only place they’ve ever known as home, expressing concern for personal belongings. Dr. Minnis said the Defence Force will dispatch a vessel there try to commence the cleanup of the island.
Exuma and Ragged Island MP Chester Cooper, who was part of the delegation Dr Minnis led to assess the southern Bahamas yesterday, suggested many of the residents had still not come to grips with the reality the island was essentially unlivable.
The government has arranged for a plane to evacuate all those who will heed the prime minister’s advice. It is scheduled to arrive on Wednesday at 1 pm.