October 1999 Table of ContentsPRIME MINISTER'S ADDRESS TO THE NATION
A week after the eve of Hurricane Floyd hitting Abaco, Prime Minister Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham addressed the nation on national radio and TV. He spoke on his government's assessment of Floyd's impact and damage after personally visiting all the islands which were extensively damaged. It was, he said, mind-boggling. Here is part of the text as it applies to Abaco:
On Abaco, scores of homes were destroyed and hundreds had no home of their own. Hurricane damage to the island of Abaco occurred principally to private property and is immense. There is, however, considerable damage to schools and public utility installations and beach erosion is substantial. The economic impact of the damage to Abaco will be significant and will necessarily have a pass-on effect because of the importance and size of Abaco's economy to the Bahamian economy.
Virtual destruction of a large portion of the fishing fleet, together with damage to ports and marina facilities, have dealt a serious blow to the livelihood of many Abaco families. All across the island, those small clubs and restaurants conveniently located or situated along the waterfront have, in many instances, been reduced to piles of splintered lumber and fallen roofs. Destroyed furniture, soaked matresses and shredded clothing are in evidence everywhere in areas like Fox Town, Coopers Town, Fire Road, Blackwood, Dundas Town and Murphy Town, Crossing Rocks, Sandy Point and Mores Island, where the storm's fury seemed especially cruel. Damage to homes on Abaco was extensive. Some were completely destroyed in Crown Haven, Mount Hope, Cedar Harbour, Fire Road, Treasure Cay, Dundas and Murphy Towns, Casuarina Point, Crossing Rocks, Sandy Point and Mores Island. Even greater damage and destruction of houses occurred in Fox Town, Coopers Town and Fire Road. Public schools in Coopers Town suffered extensive damage, as did Abaco Central High in Dundas Town. Overall, however, the public infrastructure in Abaco is of good quality and stood the test of Hurricane Floyd.
The job of restoration on Abaco is enormous. I wish to emphasise, however, that contrary to many reports, there is no shortage of food or water on Hope Town, Abaco, which I visited last evening. Indeed, to the contrary, the residents of Hope Town, as of last evening, believed they had enough supplies to enable them to generously send a truckload of foodstuff to the residents of Sandy Point, who had considerably less.
There has, to be certain, been serious environmental damage to trees and vegetation and beaches throughout the affected islands. Hope Town is perhaps representative of the most serious environmental degradation as a result of the storm. The fact that the vast majority of the homes destroyed during the hurricane in Hope Town were beach houses belonging to winter residents, many built dangerously close to, if not on, the sand dunes, suggests that serious consideration must be given before building approval is granted for reconstruction on some sites in Hope Town. Businesses along the waterfront in Marsh Harbour sustained some serious damage. Green Turtle Cay reports no serious structural or roof damage, as did Grand Cay.
Abaco has been declared a disaster area, allowing building materials for reconstruction to be brought into the island duty free.
The 20,000 acres of citrus cultivation on Abaco is lost for the season.
All of Abaco's banana crop is destroyed.
Big Bird Poultry Farm, which provides 12% of the nation's chicken production,
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