LIVE UPDATES: HURRICANE MATTHEW - St Andrew's school to open Wednesday, QC on Monday

Follow us here for the latest news on the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

6.15pm: THE second annual Run for Pompey originally set for Georgetown, Exuma, on October 8 has been re-scheduled for October 29.

“We made a decision on October 2 to re-schedule because of the threat of Hurricane Matthew, not knowing what the impact of the storm would be on the Bahamas,” said Jeff Todd, the race founder, on Wednesday.

“Fortunately for Grand Isle, which is the host hotel, we are absolutely fine and in fact, we are open today. Everything has fallen into place for the event to be re-scheduled for the end of this month, October 29. All of our sponsors have been notified, all of the entrants who are coming in from abroad are being notified, the official timing company was able to make it which is critical for the quality of the events, and our event patron Pauline Thompson Davis was able to be with us that day."

The Run for Pompey offers six events for participants, from a 2km ‘Georgetown Dash’ for youngsters up to a 50km ultra marathon, the only ultra-marathon in the Bahamas.

Wednesday 6pm: ARDASTRA Gardens and Zoo is appealing for unwanted sandbags used as protection against Hurricane Matthew last week to be donated to help the animals’ living conditions.

“Our clean up efforts are well under way,” a Facebook post from Ardastra said, “but we need to add sand to the animals habitats.”

Ardastra said that sandbags can be dropped off in the zoo’s parking lot any day between 8am and 5pm.

8.00pm: The Ministry of Education has released the following statement on the reopening of schools (click below for larger image):

7.10pm: THE Ministry of Works and Urban Development announces that as of 6pm on Monday, all roads in New Providence have been made passable.

A statement from Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, the minister responsible, said his ministry had prepared for the onslaught of Hurricane Matthew by trimming overhanging branches, clearing drains and strategically placing heavy equipment to allow immediate post-hurricane clearing operations. “This measures resulted in the floodwaters receding quickly,” he said.

“Even before the “All Clear” was given, my officers began carrying out inspections and clearing obstructions. Within 24 hours, the Ministry of Works was able to ensure that all major routes in New Providence passable. As far as we are aware, apart from a few exceptions where the trees are entangled with power lines, there are no blockages in New Providence roads. In those cases, my Ministry is working with Bahamas Power & Light (BPL) to remove these as well.

“The cut trees have been placed on the sides of the roads. These will be removed over the next week or so to be mulched. At the same time, drains will be cleared to minimise flooding in the case of rainfall.”

He commended his staff for their enthusiasm in rising to the challenge of disaster response, “many of them working outside of the realm of terms of their employment. It is because of their commitment to our recovery that we have attained this milestone achievement within four days.”

He acknowledged the contribution of ordinary citizens, many men and women, who initiated self-help activities to clear roads, and contractors who stood ready and took action as directed.

Residents who have been missed can contact the ministry via Facebook or on 302-9700 or through NEMA on 322-6081.

6.50pm: THE 114th Session of the Synod of the Diocese of the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands next week has been postponed, the Rt Rev'd Laish Boyd has announced. It had originally been scheduled for October 17 to 20. A new date will be announced in due course.

5.05pm: ST ANDREW’S School will re-open on Wednesday after clearing downed trees and making essential repairs following the damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.

Robert Stitch, the principal, praised the “amazing effort” by the school’s maintenance and cleaning crews.

He said that the cleaning staff was in on Monday to prepare classrooms, with staff returning on Tuesday and school opening at the usual time to students on Wednesday.

“The maintenance crew under the direction of Mike Brindle-Selle have been doing an amazing job since early Friday morning,” Mr Stitch said in a Facebook post. “Many members of the St Andrew’s community have been badly hit by the hurricane. We will rally together in order to help those in need. We are a strong and caring community.”

3.20pm: Queen's College has announced that the school will reopen for all students on Monday, October 17, 2016.

A statement from Queen's College said “the principal, administration and staff wish to assure parents and students that all that is possible is being done to ensure the readiness of the QC campus for schools to reopen on Monday.”

TUESDAY 2.15pm: This video shows the extent of post-Hurricane Matthew flooding in Lumumba Lane.

10.15pm: THE Grand Bahama International Airport will be fully operational as of Monday for domestic and international flights.

Airport officials said all international flights will be post-cleared as pre-clearance services will not be available until further notice. Post-cleared means that people must clear US Customs and Immigration in the US. Travellers must have a US visa as police certificates are not acceptable for post clearance.

7.15pm: All staff and faculty of BTVI's New Providence and Grand Bahama campuses are to report to work on Tuesday October 11th during normal working hours.

Additionally, classes are to resume at both campuses on Monday October 17th.

7.00pm: The Princess Margaret Hospital has released a statement advising on food safety after the hurricane:

“Once power is off, the refrigerator keeps food at safely cold temperatures for approximately four (4) hours. While food is in a freezer, it remains safe for approximately eight (8) hours. If your power is off longer, your food is NOT SAFE to eat and should be discarded.

“DO NOT consume anything that flood water may have touched. Flood water carries disease causing organisms.

“Persons experiencing severe symptoms from food poisoning or contaminated food, should seek immediate medical attention for assistance.”

4.50pm: Bahamas Power and Light has said that, as of 3.00pm today, crews were working in the following areas:

Abundant Life Road, Church Hill Subdivision, Yellow Elder, South Beach Estates East, Joan's Heights, Marshall Road, Clifton Pier, Mount Pleasant, Eastern Estates, Joe Farrington, Chippingham, Sea Beach Estates, Village Road, Eastern Road, Adderley Street, Stapledon Gardens, Serenity, Carmichael Road West, Faith Gardens, Cowpen Road, Sans Souci, St. Andrews Beach Estates, Gladstone Road, Millar's Heights, Orange Hill, Tropical Gardens, College Gardens, Adelaide Village, Pinewood Gardens, Sir Lynden Pindling Estates, Westwinds, Miami Street, Podoleo Street, Washington Street, Balfour Avenue and Spring Field Road.

BPL also said they will have all of their other team members back in office tomorrow.

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3.30pm: International press (left) has been covering Hurricane Matthew's effect on the Bahamas.

3.20pm: Queen's College has released the following statement to say the school will NOT reopen tomorrow:

“The Queen’s College Board of Governors and The Queen’s College Administration continue to pray that our QC families are safe and we express our concern for those that experienced damage to homes and vehicles. Please be advised that we are continuing to assess the school campus, which has experienced significant damage.

“At present, there is no electricity on campus or in the immediate vicinity and we are unable to confirm when this will be restored. Accordingly, please note that QUEEN’S COLLEGE WILL NOT REOPEN ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 11, 2016.

“However, all Queen’s College staff have been advised to report to campus tomorrow, as together we will coordinate the best way forward for our students and staff.

“Parents and Guardians should continue to check our website, as we will have another update tomorrow afternoon as to when school will reopen.

“Andrea Gibson, Principal, Monday, October 10, 2016​”

11.50am: SAMARITAN'S Purse, an international Christian relief organisation, says it is bringing life-saving aid to the Bahamas on Tuesday.

"Today, a DC-8 combination airplane is airlifting 22 tons of relief supplies to Freeport, Grand Bahama. Supplies on the plane include tarp for emergency shelter, water filtration units, blankets, and hygiene kits. We are prepared to meet the immediate needs of 2,000 families," the organisation said.

The DC-8 is scheduled to land in Freeport and the supplies will be unloaded and transported to hard-hit areas in the Bahamas.

Monday 11.50am: THE College of The Bahamas’ Oakes Field and Grosvenor Close campuses will reopen on Wednesday with classes will resuming on Monday, October 17.

AS statement from the College said that faculty, staff and administrators in New Providence are asked to return on Tuesday and attend a Special Call Meeting at noon in the Performing Arts Centre.

"As a result of the extensive damage sustained in Grand Bahama, the Northern Bahamas Campus remains closed until further notice. Please be assured that The College is working diligently to resume operations at the Northern Bahamas Campus and additional information will be forthcoming," the College said.

For further information, contact the Command Centre Helpdesk at 302-4444.

10.50pm: Don't miss Monday's Tribune for all the latest news in the aftermath of Hurricane Matthew.

7.55pm: THE Ministry of Education announced on Sunday night that initial assessments have been conducted and students in several districts/islands are able to return to school on Tuesday, October 11.

These include Abaco, Acklins, South Andros & Mangrove Cay, Bimini, Cat Island, Crooked Island, Eleuthera, Exuma, Inagua, Long Island, Mayaguana, Ragged Island, Rum Cay and San Salvador.

The statement stressed that no public schools will open on the islands of New Providence North Andros, Berry Islands and Grand Bahama, until further notice. Details regarding the opening of schools on these districts/islands will be given as soon as they are available.

“Until such time, students and teachers are to remain at home until schools are ready for normal operation,” the ministry said. “Teachers will be contacted by their administrators as well as through media notices informing them when they are to report for duty.

“We also wish to emphasise that private and independent schools will determine when they are in a position to resume operation and will provide the public with notices accordingly.

“We wish to assure the public that we are working aggressively to return school campuses to a state of normalcy. It is also important to note that the opening of school is also contingent on power and water supplies being restored to campuses.

“Additionally, safety remains a priority and we do not want children returning to school until all fallen trees, power, cable, and telephone lines along with debris have been cleared from the school campuses,” the ministry said.

For more information, visit the ministry’s Facebook page.

6pm:CABLE Bahamas says that it has service to 28 per cent of its customers in New Providence as it works alongside the Bahamas Power & Light Company and the Grand Bahama Power Company to restore all services.

A company update posted on its Facebook page on Sunday afternoon said that once the local power companies have restored power to neighbourhoods, the company’s technical teams will be able to restore REV services.

Of the 22 islands affected by Hurricane full free-to-air services have been restored to Matthew Moore’s Island, Guana Cay, Exuma, Mayaguana, Inagua, Ragged Island, Acklins, Crooked Island, Rum Cay, Cat Island, Abaco and Eleuthera.

The company said 86 per cent of the country had free-to-air services currently and that assessments are currently being conducted on Andros, Berry Islands, Bimini and Grand Bahama. Red Bays and Farmer’s Cay were still down.

“Some customers may receive power from generators and wonder why they still do not receive service. This is because the nodes will have to receive power in order for the services to be restored,” the post read.

In isolated cases where power may be up but services not currently active the numbers to call are: New Providence – 601-2200, Grand Bahama – 602-8800 and the Family Islands – 1-242-300-2200 (toll-free)

A company statement earlier said the outages “are primarily related to power interruptions and downed distribution lines that are impacted by falling trees. The gusting winds, which blew rain, salt, sand and debris around, will have varying degrees of effect on the company’s systems.”

AREAS BEING ATTENDED TO ON SUNDAY

Carmichael West

S C McPherson

Fire Trail

Local Tyke

Abundant Life

Churchill

Blue Hill North

Bamboo Boulevard

Solider Road West

South Beach Estates

Lyford Cay

Clifton SW/STN

Stuart Cove’s

Coral Harbour

West Bay Teed

Yamacraw West

Yamacraw East

Fox Hill South

Eastern Estates

Adam Street

Joe Farrington Road

Chippingham Road

Harbourside West

Bay Lilly Drive

Kent Drive

Dowdeswell Street

Big Pond area

3.20pm: J.S. JOHNSON INSURANCE AGENTS & BROKERS EMERGENCY OPERATING HOURS: In response to Hurricane Matthew that has affected many of its policyholders throughout the Bahamas, J.S. Johnson’s head office in Nassau and the Freeport office will be open this Monday, October 10th, 2016 from 10AM to 3PM to facilitate their policyholders with claims related to Hurricane Matthew.

3.20pm: POSTPONEMENT OF CEREMONY IN OBSERVANCE OF NATIONAL HEROES DAY

The Cabinet Office has released the following statement:

“Monday 10 October is National Heroes Day in The Bahamas, a public holiday. Bahamians are reminded to remember all those who helped to build our nation.

“The General Public is advised that Cabinet at its meeting on 7th October agreed to postpone the ceremony that was to have taken place 10 October at the Botanic Gardens in observance of National Heroes Day. This is so that all the military and public agencies together with the civilian authorities can concentrate on the hurricane recovery.

“The Government pays tribute to all those who helped to build our nation. We are certain that in this post hurricane phase when we face the challenges of recovery, new heroines and heroes will emerge. Let us remember those who gave to this nation before us and let us pray for those who will help to build our nation in the future. As we go to church today let us pray for the builders of the nation and for its recovery. Each one is encouraged to do so today on the eve of National Heroes Day, remembering our blessings and those who brought us here and praying for our future.

“As soon as the new date for the ceremony has been set, the general public will be advised.”

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BPL video

2.50pm: This video from Facebook (left) shows Bahamas Power and Light workers on the streets today.

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The aftermath of Hurricane Matthew on Grand Bahama. Photo: Vandyke Hepburn

2.15pm: IT's a "heck of a time" in Grand Bahama, an island administrator said on Sunday as residents continued clearing debris from roads, homes and passage ways following the damage inflicted on the island by Hurricane Matthew - read the full story HERE.

2.10pm: The Department of Public Health within the Ministry of Health would like to advise ALL STAFF of the Ministry of Health and Department of Public Health including Supervisors and Physician Team leaders, Pharmacy, Lab and Clerical staff who have NOT reported for duty, are asked to report to the Food Court in the new Critical Care Block of the Princess Margaret Hospital at 3pm today Sunday October 9th, 2016.

1.30pm: BAHAMASAIR has announced that it will operate a limited daily service between Nassau and Freeport, Grand Bahama, until further notice.

Flights from Nassau to Freeport will leave at 7am, 12.30pm and 4pm.

Flights from Freeport to Nassau will depart at 8am, 1.45pm and 5.15pm.

Passengers travelling from Freeport are asked to check in at the Western Air Terminal.

Bahamasair's international service will commence once the all clear has been granted by the respective government and regulatory agencies.

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Standing in a damaged home in Lowe Sound, North Andros, Dr Hubert Minnis and Prime Minister Perry Christie share concerns over the massive destruction caused by Hurricane Matthew during an assessment trip on Saturday. Photo: NEMA

1.30pm: FREE National Movement Leader Dr Hubert Minnis has called on the Christie administration to declare all of the areas devastated by Hurricane Matthew "disaster areas", insisting that the move should be paired with robust exigency orders and extensive rate cuts by financial institutions and private business to "help rebuild the country and keep Bahamians safe”. Full story HERE.