NASSAU, The Bahamas – The Government is to decide what level of emergency assistance to provide Bahamians stranded in the areas impacted by killer Hurricane Katrina.

“Any Bahamians stranded by the storm, if they have no money or possessions, our office would be able to assist to the extent to those resources being made available,” [Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Public Service the Hon. Fred Mitchell] said.

Mr. Mitchell also said that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, on behalf of the Government, conveyed by diplomatic note, “its condolences and expressed its grief to the Government and people of the United States for the tremendous loss it suffered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.”

He said residents of Grand Bahama will remember the destructive effects of the hurricane in the three US States, having suffered similar destruction themselves last year.

“We want the people of the United States to know that this is a situation we understand well,” Mr. Mitchell said. “It is one which we empathised with and we have a general concern for all people who have been affected adversely by this storm.”

He said his Ministry does not have a register of Bahamians residing in those areas, but those likely to be impacted by the storm are either students or tourists. He said a number of Bahamians were attending a Masons convention in Biloxi, Mississippi, when the hurricane struck.

Mr. Mitchell urged Bahamian citizens everywhere, whether students, tourists or residents in the United States, to register with the nearest Bahamas Consulate or The Bahamas Embassy in Washington D.C.

“It gives us a ready means of tracking who is where and helps us in emergencies of this kind to try and find people and to assist their families,” he said. “Obviously, the hurricane has had a devastating effect on New Orleans, and we know that there is at least one Bahamian student who is in the Super Dome (persons are being relocated to Houston’s Astrodome).”

He said the Government has contacted its Tourism Office in Houston, which could be a point of contact for Bahamians.

Additionally, The Bahamas Ambassador to Washington His Excellency Joshua Sears was briefed by the US State Department on the widespread impact, and has urged people to stay away from the area to allow emergency organisations to conduct early rescue recovery efforts.

“The Bahamas Embassy in Washington, along with other foreign embassies, would be kept informed as regarding Bahamians,” Mr. Mitchell said. “What is important is that information ought to be provided to the Washington Embassy and the Counsulate in Miami, which is responsible for Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana.”

“It is important that either Washington or Miami be notified of any relatives that people are concerned about or family or friends. They should provide as much details as they possibly can, certainly names, next of kin, passport numbers, their exact location and what institution they attend,” he added.

He said there is likely to be scores of Bahamians impacted by the storm, as many are enrolled in top universities in Louisiana. However, the Government would only be aware of them if relatives provide information.

Mr. Mitchell said there have been no reports of injury to Bahamians incarcerated in the affected US States.

Mr. Mitchell credited the United States for being “pretty well organised” in its relief efforts.

Persons are asked to contact the following places to provide or obtain information: Washington D.C., 202-319-3660, Ext 613; Miami Consulate, 305-373-6295; Bahamas Ministry of Tourism, Houston, 281-275-4242; the Red Cross 1(800) 229-8191 or email:; FEMA Louisiana ( or Mississippi (