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Turks & Caicos Disaster Management Team gives thorough Report on  Hurricane Season Day 1

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer

#TurksandCaicos, June 6, 2022 – The chance of the Turks and Caicos being impacted by a major storm has climbed significantly this year according to Doctor Holly Hamilton Director of Meteorology at the Turks and Caicos Islands Airport Authority.

Hamilton was speaking at the DDMEs 2022 Atlantic Hurricane Season Joint Press Conference, held Wednesday May 1st.

The event was attended by Minister of Immigration Arlington Musgrove, Mike Clerveaux Acting Director of the DDME , Eugene Williams Department of Planning Control Engineer and Roger  Harvey, Assistant Maintenance Manager of the Public Works Department.

METEOROLOGICAL OUTLOOK

Hamilton explained the chance of impact for the Turks and Caicos as predicted by Colorado State University.

“For the named storms they’re forecasting a 59 percent chance we might be impacted by one this season,” she said, and that is up from 40 percent.

“For Hurricanes a 32 percent chance of us being impacted vs the 20 percent average and [there is] an 18 percent  chance that we are impacted by a major hurricane vs the 11 percent average. So you see it is an across-the-board increase in the chance of us being hit.”

The year 2022 is the first in seven years a named storm has not developed before the June 1st start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season but the predictions prove that that  doesn’t mean the season will be slow. Hamilton also explained that storms were more severe now.

“Globally it is about 25 percent more likely that a tropical cyclone will be at major intensity and in the Atlantic that proportion has more than doubled.”

Not only are more storms becoming hurricanes, they are also becoming stronger faster. What this means, Hamilton said, is hurricanes upgrade themselves (from category one to higher) more quickly, sometimes overnight. This makes it very hard to make accurate predictions.

As a reminder 14-21 named storms 6-10 hurricanes and 3-6 major hurricanes are predicted for this season.

This she said made it extremely important for the TCI Islanders to download the DDME Alert app and PAY ATTENTION to all alerts from the DDME on the app or otherwise.

She noted that the TCI was very keen on creating its own meteorological centre in country.

Minister Arlington Musgrove seconded this stressing that it would be very beneficial for the islands.

Minister With Responsibility for Disaster Preparedness 

Minister Musgrove while expressing his hope for a quiet season with no hurricanes encouraged readiness for the season saying, “I urge you to be proactive by downloading the DDME Mobile app, creating an emergency plan for your families, replenishing your stock of emergency supplies and taking the necessary steps to protect property and possession.”

He stressed that ‘preparation rests not just with the government but with all of us.’

Noting that no area on the islands was immune to disaster he said Islanders should ‘be wise and build our resilience capacity through preparedness…we are resilient people and resilient people proactively plan and prepare.”

Department of Planning 

‘Plan ahead’ was the overarching theme of the press conference and the Planning Department’s Eugene Williams  explained some ways TCI Islanders needed to prepare.

– Ensure your roofs are properly anchored and replace rusty Hurricane screws
– Ensure all windows and doors are properly fixed to the walls
– Shutters or ply board must be placed over all windows
– Ensure that all external walls are plastered with cement or paint
– Ensure you have provisions for disposal of stormwater (drains etc)
– Ensure simple drainage is created
– Ensure that personal
– Living in low lying areas are registered with the hurricane shelter in case of evacuation
– All construction sites must properly brace down materials
– Remove all debris from yards for your safety and others.
– Secure important documents and certificates (birth, death, marriage.) land titles etc.

Persons who feel that neighboring properties have a hazard on site which could affect their own property should report that to the Department of Planning.

Public Works Department 

TCI Islanders will not have to worry about drains at least, as Roger  Harvey, Assistant Maintenance Manager of the Public works Department, assured that they were in excellent condition.

“All drainage in the Turks and Caicos Islands, we actually maintain them on a regular basis. We have improved the quality and the flow of water quite a bit and we have new wells drilled in the low-lying areas to receive the water as quickly as possible.”

Harvey also mentioned that the government had secured new heavy duty vehicles to help with cleanup and the flooding which frustrates access to the Providenciales International Airport has also been addressed.

The Department of Disaster Management and Emergencies 

Acting Director of the DDME, Mike Clerveaux said 23 shelters had been prepared for the season but not all would be open at the same time and shelter management training was almost complete with 63 shelter personnel ready to be deployed.

A meeting was held with the TCI Regiment, Police, telecommunications stakeholders and the National Security Secretariat on May 31st, Clerveaux revealed, and it supported finalizing plans for the season.

While the DDME did not have a concrete number on how many people had downloaded the new DDME free mobile App,  Clerveaux said there would be intensified ad campaigns promoting the safety and sense of having this new tool.

Training for key individuals in command centres and simulation exercises with key places including the airport have also been completed.

Damage assessment training and radio communication training are underway and coming up are simulations between the Governor’s office and the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.

Health

Cleveland Clinic Performs First-In-World Full Multi-Organ Transplant to Treat Rare Appendix Cancer

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#USA, August 13, 2022 – Cleveland Clinic has successfully performed a first-in-the-world full multi-organ transplant to treat a patient with a rare form of appendix cancer called pseudomyxoma peritonei (PMP). Upon completion of the lifesaving transplant surgery, the patient received five digestive organs: liver, stomach, pancreas, duodenum, and small intestine.

Anil Vaidya, M.D., Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Program co-director, led the seven-surgeon team that completed the pioneering operation on a 32-year-old man in September 2021.

“The patient had one of the more advanced cases of PMP I have seen,” said Dr. Vaidya. “While about 80% of patients with the condition can be treated with traditional therapies, what do you do with the 20% for whom the traditional therapy isn’t successful? In some cases, the answer may be a multi-organ transplant.”

During the 17-hour operation, surgeons removed the patient’s diseased organs. He then received the following deceased donor’s organs all together and at the same time: liver, stomach, pancreas and duodenum (pancreaticoduodenal complex), spleen, small intestine, and right colon. The donor spleen was initially transplanted to boost the immune protection of the newly transplanted organs and improve blood flow to the pancreas until fully transplanted. The donor right colon was initially transplanted to help protect the new intestine from infection and improve its ability to absorb nutrients.  Both the donor spleen and donor right colon were removed prior to the completion of the transplant after they successfully served to protect the other organs during the operation.

“As far as we know, it is the first time in the world that a full multi-organ transplant, including the liver and four other digestive organs, is performed to treat PMP,” said Dr. Vaidya.

Prior to joining Cleveland Clinic in 2020, Dr. Vaidya performed in England the world’s first modified multi-organ transplant (excluding the liver) to treat a patient with PMP who had exhausted all other management strategies.

PMP is a rare cancer that typically originates as a tumor in the appendix. When the slow-growing tumor ruptures, its jelly-like content spreads to other digestive organs, with additional tumors developing that impair gastrointestinal function. Malnutrition and life-threatening complications ultimately occur.

Following the diagnosis in 2019, the patient began a long odyssey of treatments. He was one of the 20% of patients with PMP for whom the traditional treatments were ineffective. Often, this population of patients is left with few to no treatment options.

The patient was referred to Cleveland Clinic in 2021 in the end stage of his disease. He was receiving hospice care at that time. The patient had stopped working and could no longer eat solid foods. He was receiving nutrients intravenously through total parenteral nutrition (TPN).

“We needed to perform an evaluation to determine if transplantation in his case was safe, feasible and could provide long-term benefits,” said Dr. Vaidya.

Dr. Vaidya completed a thorough assessment of the patient’s case and received approval from Cleveland Clinic’s Intestinal Transplant Selection Committee to proceed. The patient was placed on the national transplant waiting list in July 2021.

“The patient – who needed a liver and four other digestive organs – had started to deteriorate quite rapidly,” said Dr. Vaidya. “It was touch-and-go that he would make it.”

In September 2021, a donor was found, and less than 24 hours later, the patient was undergoing the groundbreaking

surgery. The first three hours were preparatory, in essence removing the diseased abdominal organs. Next, the donor organs were inserted into the abdominal cavity, all the necessary vascular connections were completed and a left-sided ileostomy was created to handle bodily waste and let the body recover from the surgery.

“The operation was well planned and went like clockwork,” said Dr. Vaidya. “The team members knew exactly what they were going to do, and the timing was perfect. It went really well.”

Following the transplant, the patient remained in the hospital for 51 days.  Soon after he was discharged, he returned because he was suffering from a case of graft-versus-host disease, a common occurrence following intestinal or bone marrow transplants where the donated organs’ immune cells recognize the recipient’s tissues as foreign and attack the recipient.

The patient underwent a procedure perfected and performed by Amy Lightner, M.D., colorectal surgeon and director of Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Regenerative Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Lightner administered three doses of mesenchymal stromal cell (MSC)-derived exosomes, a first ever, novel treatment in solid organ transplants — another first for a patient who received a full multi-organ transplant to treat PMP.

According to Dr. Vaidya, “The patient’s recovery was absolutely amazing. His symptoms abated within two hours of the first dose.”

Nine months post-transplant, the patient, now 33, can eat and digest solid foods again and has energy to do what he loves, including walking and biking outdoors.

“There is currently no evidence of cancer recurrence,” said Dr. Vaidya.

 

Photo Captions: 

Header: Masato Fujiki, MD, (center) and the Cleveland Clinic surgical team, led by Anil Vaidya, MD, performing the first-in-world multi-organ transplant to treat a rare type of appendix cancer. (Photo courtesy of Cleveland Clinic)

1st insert: Anil Vaidya, M.D.

2nd insert: From left: Anil Vaidya, M.D., Shannon Jarancik, physician assistant, Amy Lightner, M.D., Andy Voge, patient, Rachel Voge, Andy’s wife, and Anita Barnoski, transplant coordinator.

Release: Cleveland Clinic / DPA media

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Bahamas News

Scores of Students Equipped with Supplies to Return to School

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NASSAU, BAHAMAS, AUGUST 13, 2022 – As the new school year approaches, Sandals Foundation Ambassadors at Sandals Royal Bahamian have embarked on a back-to-school drive, donating school supplies to local schools and communities in Nassau as part of their commitment to education and community development.

Recently, a team of over 15 volunteers from the resort traveled to Gambier Primary School, where students and teachers were gathered for summer school, and distributed over 40 packages with school supplies that included notebooks, pencils, crayons, pencil cases, erasers, sharpeners, reading books, rulers and glue sticks and warm meals.

Public Relations Manager at Sandals Royal Bahamian, Renee Deleon, shared the impact that these donations will have on families and schools across the island.

“Education is pivotal to the growth of a nation and it is something that we are committed to at Sandals. We know that back to school expenses here like anywhere else in the world can be quite strenuous so we want to play our part in helping to ease the financial burden that this may present to families as schools look to reopen.”

Deleon further added, “Thanks to the support of our guests who packed for a purpose, we were able to collect these items that will allow students to be equipped with the essential tools they need to make a better transition to the classroom when they return to school.”

The gesture was met with song, dance and echoes of ‘thank you’ as the Sandals team made the presentations to the children. Principal Forbes explained how this donation will help to improve the teaching and learning process.

“I am tremendously grateful to the Sandals Foundation and their team members from Sandals Royal Bahamian for gifting my students with school supplies. This donation will go a long way toward allowing teachers to execute lessons and students to participate.”

Forbes also noted that the school has had a longstanding relationship with the Foundation.

“Over the years we’ve had a good relationship with the Sandals Foundation and I am happy that we still have them in our corner.”

In addition to this donation to Gambier Primary School, the Sandals Royal Bahamian team has distributed school supplies to the Community Touch Group. Donations were also made to children at the Nazareth Centre as well as some children from the Okra Hill community. Later this month the Sandals Foundation ambassadors will be giving back to children from the Nassau Village and Grove communities.

 

Photo Captions: 

Header: These Sandals Foundation Ambassadors from Sandals Royal Bahamian were captured with bag packs filled with school supplies moments before they donated the supplies to the Nazareth Centre.

 1st insert: It is always a joyous occasion when Sandals Foundation Ambassadors go out to give back.

 2nd insert: Volunteers from Sandals Royal Bahamian were a picture of joy when they stopped by Gambier Primary School to donate school supplies and issue lunches recently.

 Release: Sandals Resort

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Bahamas News

GBPA Statement from Ian Rolle, President

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Re:  GBPA’s Response to fire in the International Bazaar

 

#TheBahamas, August 10, 2022 – The Grand Bahama Port Authority is aware of the recent fire at the International Bazaar.

The GBPA has engaged, and continues to engage, with operators of the International Bazaar, which include representatives of the Bazaar Association and several property owners, so that we can continue demolition exercises on the dilapidated structures and buildings.

The GBPA is acutely aware of the need to demolish derelict structures within the International Bazaar for the safety of all businesses and visitors. We have performed demolitions in the past at our own cost, most recently in February 2022 when we, in partnership with owners, demolished fire-damaged buildings in the Oriental Section. We have also written to numerous property owners of dilapidated structures over the years to sensitize them to the need to repair or demolish their buildings.

In addition, we have engaged the Government of the Bahamas in advance discussions to approve our requested amendments of the Building and Sanitary bylaws, which would enable GBPA to execute more demolitions in a timely manner and recoup the associated costs.

With the requested bylaw amendments in place, GBPA can continue to make consistent efforts to address the remainder of derelict buildings in the International Bazaar and other dilapidated structures within the city.

The GBPA itself has never owned any part of the International Bazaar but has historically subsidized the Bazaar for many years when owners were no longer maintaining its communal areas.

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