Bahamas Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham thanked local authorities for their work in keeping residents safe during Hurricane Ike, and lauded the positive impact of both improved disaster management skills and strong building codes in The Bahamas.

The Prime Minister said the country recorded no fatalities or injuries as a result of Hurricane Ike, based on initial assessments.

He advised that homes and other structures on the southern island of Inagua sustained serious damage.

Other islands in the southern Bahamas such as Mayaguana, Acklins and Crooked Island sustained lesser degrees of damage.

Over 300 persons remained in shelters on the islands impacted by Ike, and officials advised that all shelters were stocked with the necessary supplies.

Communication between the islands was maintained throughout the storm, and both the islands’ electricity and water and sewerage providers reported no significant damage to overall infrastructure save on the island of Inagua, where the Bahamas Telecommunication Company’s tower and building sustained serious damage.

The country’s health sector meantime stood ready for immediate deployment to affected areas, according to officials.

Mr. Ingraham said he expected to be able to tour Inagua by Tuesday, following the garnering of additional information from that island.

A hurricane warning remained in effect Sunday for the central and southeast Bahamas. A hurricane watch meantime remained in effect for the island of Andros.

Local forecasters, who continued to keep an eye on the storm system, expressed concern about a potential jog to the north by Ike, which they said could cause the system to impact Andros more significantly than previously forecast.

During a nationally televised press conference held by The Bahamas’ National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Prime Minister Ingraham affirmed that the Bahamas Government will do the necessary to enable NEMA to carry out its assessments in all islands affected by the storm, which made landfall as a category 4 system.
He also used the opportunity to remind residents to stay indoors until the “all-clear” had been given by officials.

Mr. Ingraham, who also serves as Chairman of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) advised that Agency teams would be going into the Turks and Caicos Islands Monday to assess the hurricane damage there.

He said The Bahamas will provide any assistance required of it by the Turks and Caicos Islands.