Bahamas Prime Minister Thanks US for Aid, Says 'Death Numbers Would Be Even More' Without It
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said Thursday that President Donald Trump has been there to help his nation in its darkest hour.
“From day one, the United States was in our territory assisting us with all of our needs. Had it not been for the United States we would not have been advanced this far in the entire process,” Minnis told CNN’s Anderson Cooper in comments that were posted on the Facebook page of Cooper’s show.
“Even though our death numbers, we expect they [will] increase, had the United States not come in quickly … our death numbers would be even more,” he said.
During a phone call between the two leaders, Trump “expressed condolence to the entire Bahamian populace and that the United States would be available and would be there to assist us,” Minnis said.
In an interview with NPR, Minnis talked about the damage from Hurricane Dorian.
“Just think of a city that has developed proper health facilities, proper schools, roads, (unintelligible), water,” he said.
“They have developed a downtown, all the different infrastructure. Think of that existing today, and then tomorrow, it’s completely flattened — mounds of rubble, some concrete, some wood — wooden docks especially — completely destroyed. Boats on the land — it’s mind-boggling. It’s something you’ve never seen before.”
Minnis further said that “it will take a long time to rebuild, but be assured that we’re a resilient nation, and we will build our country back even stronger.”
“We’ve experienced hurricanes before. The islands have been partially destroyed and been rebuilt, but we’ve not experienced anything this big, and that’s why we welcome the external — the international help that came in so quickly to assist us.”
The overall estimated damage in the Bahamas could top $7 billion, Fox News reported.
During a Wednesday news briefing, Trump outlined the initial U.S. response.
“But we’re helping in a humanitarian way. We’ve been asked to help by the government of the Bahamas,” Trump said, according to a White House transcript.
“And we have numerous helicopters, and we’re sending some — some people to give them a hand, and they need a big hand. What’s going on over there is incredible.”
Admiral Karl Schultz of the U.S. Coast Guard said the first crew reached the Bahamas on Monday, not long after the storm began pounding the islands.
US #Coast Guard #helicopter crews medevaced 19 people fm the Marsh Harbour Clinic on Abaco Isld in the #Bahamas to Nassau Mon. Nearly every tree in these photos is denuded; the main blgd doesn’t look too bad but most cars are askew. Coasties are from USCG Air Station Clearwater pic.twitter.com/OVEumB92KL
— Chris Cavas (@CavasShips) September 3, 2019
“In the Bahamas, it’s been challenging,” he said. “We accessed the Bahamas — the Abaco — which is in the northeastern reach of the Bahamas. On Monday, the first flight crews — those were rotary-wing helicopters — got in there. We’ve rescued probably, you know, 50 folks to date.”
“We’re rendering, you know, lifesaving support here, humanitarian assistance. We’re working with USAID and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, who is the lead agency here on providing, you know, urgent support. Our CBP Air and Marine counterparts are there with helicopters,” he said.
“And, you know, we’ll see where this evolves to in the next 24 hours and what type of additional support, possibly from DOD, may be warranted, sir.”
Schultz said the U.S. is building “an air bridge of supplies into the Bahamas, a maritime bridge, aboard Coast Guard cutters.”
He noted the mission was not easy.
Bahamas govt has asked for US help in Hurricane Dorian aftermath. After South America trip with Ivanka Trump, USAID chief Mark Green heads to Miami to oversee delivery of emergency supplies as part of int’l response that includes govts of Caribbean, UK, Canada, Green’s aides say. pic.twitter.com/OI0nT0Twq9
— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) September 6, 2019
“What’s challenging right now, sir — because we haven’t gotten into Freeport, Grand Bahamas, and there’s no open airports there,” Schultz said.
“The airports are under water. Those airports that are accessible are not accessible from roads. So most of the stuff has got to come in rotary-wing,” he added, explaining that ground-based efforts to create a distribution network would be needed to move relief supplies to those in need.
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