Last updated: 10:49 AM ET, Wed October 07 2015

Premier: Joaquin Will Cost Bahamas 'Tens of Millions'

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | October 06, 2015

Premier: Joaquin Will Cost Bahamas 'Tens of Millions'

Photo via Twitter/suezeecue

While the Bahamas’ largest resort areas were spared by Hurricane Joaquin, the archipelago’s central and southern regions were significantly impacted, and the country’s premier says it will cost “tens of millions” to repair infrastructure destroyed and damaged by the storm.

The hurricane severely damaged power lines and telephone antennas on the southern Bahamian islands of San Salvador, Crooked Island, Long Island and Acklins, said Perry Christie, the Bahamas’ prime minister, after an aerial tour of the territory on Saturday.

The areas have been without electricity and telephone service since Thursday, and it may take as many as two days to restore power and communications to the affected islands.

Christie said that Bahamian agencies including the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) are working with the British Navy and U.S. Coast Guard to effect rescue efforts, assessments and repairs. The groups are also “providing humanitarian aid to severely affected islands simultaneously,” said a statement on the Bahamas government website.

 “We are trying to concentrate resources that will be able to bring relief to the people of these affected areas,” said Stephen Russell, NEMA’s director. NEMA teamed with the US Coast Guard to rescue nine persons on Samana Cay, he said.

According to a statement from Club Med, The Club Med Columbus Isle resort on San Salvador Island, in its annual closure period as the storm passed, suffered some damage. As a result, the resort has re-scheduled its opening date from Oct.18 to Dec. 20.

There were no injuries among the small team of staff and suppliers present during the storm, and resort officials are now “assessing the impact of the storm to the resort and the infrastructure on the island,” read the statement. 

The statement continued, “Fortunately, our preliminary assessment indicates that the resort, which was built to withstand hurricane winds, did not incur significant structural damage. However, as is typical in this type of storm, there was damage to the exterior roofs, including lost shingles and waterproof membrane.  In addition, there was minor water intrusion in some areas.”  The resort’s landscaping and palm trees were also badly damaged.

According to the statement, “We are also working with local government agencies to assess the status of electricity, water, telecommunications, fuel and transportation services on San Salvador. The initial estimate that Bahamas Electric Company gave us to repair the power generation facility on San Salvador is three to five weeks.

Hotel officials are working with airlines on alternative transportation arrangements for guests impacted by the delay. Officials are also reaching out to guests to offer options to reschedule their visits.

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